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Avoiding the trap

by Adam Kimelman
PHILADELPHIA -- Danny Briere said one thing he's noticed in his career is the hardest game is the first one at home following a road trip.

That's where the Flyers are tonight, facing a Minnesota Wild team that could be the perfect opponent.

The Wild are struggling (2-10-3 in their last 15) and are missing their team captain and All-Star, Mikko Koivu. However, facing a desperate team could be just what the Flyers need tonight.

"It could be a dangerous game if we're not ready," said Flyers center Danny Briere. "We can't be looking at the other team … and think that it's going to be easier because they're struggling. We have to come out strong. I'm sure they're not happy with their play lately and they want to turn things around. For us, it's important not to look at them but to make sure we come out of the gate with a bang today and put our own tempo in instead of letting them set the tempo of the game."

The Flyers have played just nine of their last 29 games in Philadelphia, but tonight starts a stretch of nine of their next 12 at home. They're just 10-6-2 at home this season, tying them for the second-fewest home wins in the Eastern Conference.

"It's a dangerous opponent because they're playing with a lot of desperation," defenseman Matt Carle told "The season is only halfway over, but you start looking at the standings and try to put yourself in a playoff position and they're battling right now in that 8-9-10 spot. They've had a tough stretch. You never know, one game, a bounce here or there can turn a team around and start building some momentum. Hopefully we can allow them not to pick up any of that tonight."

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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