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At the Rink: Avalanche at Flyers

by Pat Pickens

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers finished their five-game road trip on a positive note and hope some time at home allows them to string some wins together.

The Flyers dropped their first four games, three in Western Canada, but salvaged the trip with a 3-0 shutout of the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday. They will play six of their next nine games at Wells Fargo Center, starting that stretch Tuesday against the Colorado Avalanche (7 p.m. ET; SNE, ALT, CSN-PH).

"We had a really hard road trip," Flyers defenseman Mark Streit said. "We need to keep going and play the way we want to play."

Philadelphia is four points behind the New York Islanders for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference. Goaltender Michal Neuvirth, who had his third shutout Saturday, will start his fourth straight game Tuesday.

"Michal earned this start," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. "He's done a great job for his teammates in particular. His last two starts, both in Calgary and in Winnipeg, he did a great job."

The Avalanche have lost two straight games and start a seven-game road trip Tuesday.

"It's an important trip for us," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "We're in a tough spot right now and the urgency of winning hockey games is there for us. We need to play well on that trip and we need to find a way to win hockey games."

Reto Berra is expected to start his second straight start in goal. He made 31 saves in Colorado's 2-1 loss to the New York Rangers on Friday. The defeat was Colorado's seventh in eight one-goal games this season (1-6-1).

"We keep telling everybody we're close, but at the same time we're not that close because we're losing all those games," Roy said. "I think if we can be a little more relentless, get a big save here, a big defensive play there and a big goal from our forwards or anyone, it can turn the thing around."

Here are the projected lineups:


Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Matt Duchene

Blake Comeau - Carl Soderberg - Jarome Iginla

Cody McLeod - Mikhail Grigorenko - Dennis Everberg

Andreas Martinsen - Ben Street - Jack Skille

Francois Beauchemin - Erik Johnson

Nick Holden - Tyson Barrie

Brandon Gormley - Brad Stuart

Reto Berra

Semyon Varlamov

Injured: John Mitchell (oblique), Alex Tanguay (knee), Jesse Winchester (concussion)

Scratched: Nate Guenin


Michael Raffl - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek

Matt Read - Sean Couturier - Wayne Simmonds

Vincent Lecavalier - Brayden Schenn - Sam Gagner

Chris VandeVelde - Scott Laughton - Ryan White

Michael Del Zotto - Mark Streit

Nick Schultz - Luke Schenn

Brandon Manning - Radko Gudas

Michal Neuvirth

Steve Mason

Injured: Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (lower-body), Evgeny Medvedev (upper-body), R.J. Umberger (undisclosed)

Scratched: Davis Drewiske

Status Report: Bellemare, who has been sidelined since Oct. 27 because of a lower-body injury, began skating Tuesday and is getting closer to a return. … Roy said Mitchell is unable to go because of his lingering oblique injury. He has missed Colorado's past three games.

Who's hot: Neuvirth has stopped 134 of the last 142 shots (.944 save percentage) in his past four games. … MacKinnon has eight points in his past six games, including a three-point game in a 6-3 win against the Calgary Flames on Nov. 3.

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