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Flames look for offense against surging Flyers

by Sean McCullen

FLYERS (19-16-4) at FLAMES (14-19-6)


Last 10: Philadelphia 6-2-2; Calgary 3-5-2

Season series: This is the first of two games between the Philadelphia Flyers and Calgary Flames. The teams have not played since Feb. 25, 2012, when the Flyers won 5-4 in a shootout at Scotiabank Saddledome.

Big story: The Flyers have won the first two games of a six-game road trip that will see them travel through Western Canada to close out 2013 before games at the Colorado Avalanche, Phoenix Coyotes and New Jersey Devils to ring in the new year.

Calgary has been shut out in consecutive games and is 1-2-0 on its five-game homestand, which started with a come-from-behind 4-3 shootout win against the St. Louis Blues on Dec. 23.

Team Scope:

Flyers: Claude Giroux extended his point streak to nine games with a goal and an assist in a 4-3 shootout win against the Vancouver Canucks on Monday. Brayden Schenn snapped a 16-game scoring drought to tie the game Monday with 47 seconds left in the third.

Steve Mason made 41 saves in regulation and overtime before stopping all three attempts in the breakaway tiebreaker.

Philadelphia is 5-1-0 in its past six games, but Giroux feels there's room for improvement.

"We can be better," he said. "At some points during the game we are playing well but we need to be consistent. When we played the way we want to play we got goals."

Flames: Calgary is 25th in the NHL with 2.36 goals per game. The Flames' offensive woes have been apparent in back-to-back 2-0 losses to the Edmonton Oilers and Canucks.

Coach Bob Hartley had his team working on putting the puck in the net during practice Monday.

"Basically, 95 percent of practice was on scoring goals, like net plays, entering zones, creating some options offensively," he said. "And I think that not only is it confidence, scoring goals is something that can become very fragile. Suddenly, you don't think that you'll score another goal ever, and that's not the case. But I think that we just have to keep going, being sharper around the net. We're losing lots of pucks around the blue paint, where I think the vast majority of goals are being scored in this league."

The Flames traded Greg Nemisz, their 2008 first-round pick (No. 25), to the Carolina Hurricanes for right wing Kevin Westgarth on Monday. Nemisz appeared in 15 games with Calgary in 2010-11 and 2011-12, earning one assist.

Who's hot: Giroux has 12 points (four goals) his past six games. Forward Wayne Simmonds has seven goals his past six games. … Flames goalie Reto Berra has stopped 54 of 57 shots (.947 save percentage) the past two games, both losses.

Injury report: Flyers defenseman Erik Gustafsson (knee) is on injured reserve. … Flames left wing Curtis Glencross (ankle) and defensemen Kris Russell (knee) and Dennis Wideman (hand) are on IR. Center Blair Jones (knee) is out indefinitely.

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