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Blues start another road trip in Philadelphia

by Adam Kimelman

BLUES (3-4-0) at FLYERS (4-1-1)

TV: FS-Midwest (HD), CSN-Philadelphia

Season Series: This is the only game between the teams this season. In their only meeting in 2010-11, Carlo Colaiacovo scored at 1:47 of overtime to give the Blues a 2-1 victory

Big Story: The Blues head back onto the road looking for more success than they had on their last trip. St. Louis went 1-3-0 on a four-game trip, and after Friday's 3-2 home win against Carolina, they begin another four-game trek in Philadelphia.

Team Scope:

Blues -- St. Louis coach Davis Payne was fairly blunt as to why he opted to start Brian Elliott in goal Friday against Carolina instead of struggling starter Jaroslav Halak.

"Quite simply put, (Elliott) has given us a chance," Payne told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Elliott made his coach look smart, stopping 27 of 29 shots in a 3-2 overtime win against the Hurricanes.

"We've said right from the start that performance plays," Payne said. "There are times when you give the ball back to your guy because he is your guy, but there's also times where the guy who is performing is performing, so he plays."

Payne refused to say whether Elliott would be back in net Saturday.

Flyers -- A day after their first regulation loss in a game that featured three new lines, coach Peter Laviolette again shuffled his deck at practice Friday.

The new look saw Claude Giroux centering rookie Brayden Schenn and Jaromir Jagr; Matt Read between van Riemsdyk and Wayne Simmonds; and Danny Briere with Scott Hartnell and Jakub Voracek.

Reuniting Briere and Hartnell could be the spark both need. They formed two-thirds of the team's best line last season, along with the since-departed Ville Leino. Briere had a career-best 34 goals in 2010-11 but has just one goal in six games this season. Hartnell, who had 24 goals last season, has none so far.

"We haven't scored a lot of goals 5-on-5 the last few games," Briere told "He's moving the lines around, hopefully trying to find some chemistry. We know that me and Scotty have played together before, so we know each other and hopefully that can kick-start something."

However, Laviolette said the lines in Friday's practice might not be the same when the team takes the ice Saturday.

"We're just looking at things in practice, so I wouldn't read into things just yet," he told reporters. "Brayden was in, so right away that changes a line. We're trying to look at other players and give a different look."

Who's Hot: In three games, Elliott is 2-0-0, and has allowed just five goals on 71 shots. … Flyers rookie center Sean Couturier, the eighth pick in the 2011 Entry Draft, has goals in two straight games and leads all rookies shorthanded ice time per game, at 4:26.

Injury Report: Blues forwards Andy McDonald and David Perron are out with concussions, and forward B.J. Crombeen is out with a shoulder injury. … Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen suffered a bruised arm blocking a shot Thursday against Washington, but practiced Friday and likely will play Saturday.

Stat Pack: This will be just the sixth time the teams have met since the 2005-06 season; of the previous five, three went to overtime.

Puck Drop: It was just a practice, but the Blues got a pleasant surprise Thursday when David Perron joined them on the ice. He skated for only about 15 minutes, but it was the first time he skated with the team since suffering a concussion last Nov. 4 against San Jose.

"It felt good," Perron told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I wanted to try it out with guys moving around me. It was just one drill. I had the chance to score a goal."

While Perron reported feeling good after the skate, he said it doesn't mean he's any closer to returning to game action.

"It's just another step," said Perron. "It's impossible to say what's next after tomorrow. Hopefully, I keep practicing with the team and increase my progression from there. The good part is if I keep increasing, it means that I felt good enough to do that and that's basically the positive you have to take out of that."

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