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Flyers aim to get above .500 against Wild

by Brian Hunter

FLYERS (12-12-2) at WILD (15-8-5)


Last 10: Philadelphia 7-2-1; Minnesota 5-4-1

Season series: This is the first of two games between the Philadelphia Flyers and Minnesota Wild. They played most recently on Jan. 17, 2012, with Sean Couturier's shorthanded goal proving decisive in a 5-1 Flyers win at Wells Fargo Center.

Big story: Philadelphia gets a second crack at going over .500 in terms of points percentage (the Flyers were 10-10-2 before losing two straight) while Minnesota looks to snap out of an 0-3-1 skid.

Team Scope:

Flyers: Vincent Lecavalier had the only goal of the shootout as Philadelphia made it two wins in less than 36 hours with a 3-2 victory Saturday against the Nashville Predators to begin a grueling six-game road trip.

Claude Giroux, who has still been trying to find a goal-scoring groove though he's racking up the points, opened the scoring with his fourth of the season and Couturier scored for a second consecutive game. Steve Mason continued to be the story in the Flyers' turnaround, however, stopping 34 shots and not allowing a goal in the penalty-shot tiebreaker.

"He did a great job once again," Couturier told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Since the start of the year he's been unbelievable. He's making key saves at the right time and keeping us in games when we're not playing at our best."

Wild: There isn't a lot of room for a prolonged slump in the Western Conference, but at least Minnesota was able to salvage a point out of a 3-2 shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.

The Avalanche appeared to be cruising to a sweep of the home-and-home, up 2-0 in the third, but Matt Cooke got the Wild on the board with 3:27 left in regulation and Mikko Koivu scored with under six seconds remaining and the goalie pulled to force overtime.

Despite losing the tiebreaker, coach Mike Yeo was encouraged.

"That's a huge point for us," he said. "It was great the way we played the game. We probably out-chanced them 2-1. We lost the skill competition at the end of the game, the shootout, whatever you want to call it. Bottom line, I really believe we deserved the win in regulation."

Who's hot: Mason has a .934 save percentage for the Flyers, the eighth-best in the NHL. … Wild goalie Josh Harding is second in the League in goals-against average (1.52) and sixth in save percentage (.936).

Injury report: Philadelphia will be without forward Vincent Lecavalier (back spasms). … Minnesota forward Zenon Konopka (facial laceration) will return to the lineup after missing one game. Forward Mikael Granlund (head) is on injured reserve.

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