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Flyers attempt to get offense going against Oilers

by Adam Kimelman

OILERS (4-11-2) at FLYERS (4-10-1)


Last 10: Edmonton 3-6-1; Philadelphia 3-6-1

Season series: It's the first of two meetings between the teams this season. The last time they met was Feb. 23, 2012, a 2-0 win for the Edmonton Oilers against the visiting Philadelphia Flyers. The last time they played in Philadelphia was March 8, 2011.

Big story: Two struggling teams will take the ice Saturday. The Oilers have one win in seven games (1-5-1) while the Flyers are 1-3-1 in their past five. The Flyers enter as the League's worst team offensively averaging 1.47 goals per game, while the Oilers have allowed the most goals, an average of 3.82 per game.

Team Scope:

Oilers: Edmonton could get a boost offensively with the return of forward David Perron. He has missed the past four games with a neck injury but he practiced Friday in Philadelphia at left wing on a line with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle.

"It's feeling better," Perron told reporters. "I had a good practice [Friday], first time back. I've been skating back home for three, four days there. It's fun [being with the team]."

Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said any decision on Perron's return to the lineup would be made Saturday morning.

"We're going to see how he is," Eakins said. "He was the one guy I couldn't get to with the mad dash after practice. I have to speak to him, see how he is. [Jesse] Joensuu is in the same boat. I did put them on lines [Friday], being proactive that if they are good at least they've skated with guys that they would play with. I'm hopeful they can play, but we're not going to push somebody into a lineup that isn't ready to play."

The Oilers traded defenseman Ladislav Smid to the Calgary Flames on Friday for minor-league forward Roman Horak and a prospect, then reached a verbal agreement on a one-year contract with goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, who was bought out by the Flyers during the summer.

Flyers: After a disappointing 3-0 home loss to the New Jersey Devils on Thursday the Flyers held a players-only meeting. Players refused to reveal any details from the meeting, but one player not among those being questioned was captain Claude Giroux, who left Wells Fargo Center prior to the media's arrival.

Giroux did speak after practice Friday and said the reason he left was out of frustration with his play as well as the team's. Two seasons ago Giroux was third in the League with 93 points; this season he has seven points -- all assists -- in 15 games and his minus-11 rating is tied for the third-worst in the League. Dating to last season, he's gone 21 games without a goal. Meanwhile the Flyers slipped to eighth in the Metropolitan Division and 29th in the League standings.

"I was frustrated," Giroux told reporters. "At myself and how we're playing."

Giroux said the key to pulling out of the slide is to get back to the basics of the game.

"Just play hockey," he said. "It's the same story every day. Just got to enjoy the game. Obviously it's hard to enjoy the game when you're playing like we are playing right now, but we need to enjoy it a little bit more. We go to games, and obviously when you do one bad shift or one bad power play and the crowd starts booing you put a little more pressure and you want to do even more. And I think we need to just play the game."

Who's hot: After snapping his five-game scoring drought, Eberle has three points in the past two games for the Oilers.

Injury report: For Edmonton, Perron (neck) and Joensuu (back) are questionable. Forwards Steve MacIntyre (knee), Corey Potter (back), Ryan Hamilton (knee) and Tyler Pitlick (knee), defensemen Justin Schultz (groin) and Anton Belov (lower body) and goaltender Richard Bachman (lower body) are on injured reserve. … Philadelphia forward Steve Downie is day-to-day with a concussion.


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