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Flyers-Bruins Preview @NHLdotcom
Flyers-Bruins Preview

GAME: Philadelphia Flyers (24-8-6) at Boston Bruins (14-18-6).

TIME: Monday, 1 p.m. EST.

The Philadelphia Flyers finished December with the most points in 20 years. They try to continue their success when they visit the Boston Bruins to open 2006.

Philadelphia has not lost to the Bruins in regulation in Boston since Dec. 6, 2001, a span of seven games.

The Flyers begin 2006 with 54 points - the most since they 56 points in 1985-86. Philadelphia finished with a franchise-record 53 wins for the second straight season.

This game marks the halfway point of the Flyers' franchise record - an 11-game road trip. After starting with four straight road wins, including two in overtime, the Flyers dropped a 4-3 shootout decision Saturday to the Washington Capitals

"This was as dead as we've been in a month," Hitchcock said. "I don't remember us playing this poorly. We had no work ethic. Their workers controlled the game. It wasn't their skill people. Their workers knocked us off the puck."

Peter Forsberg scored a goal in Saturday's loss, and has six goals in his last 12 games. Forsberg had three points in each of Philadelphia's two previous meetings with Boston this season, both of them Flyers victories.

League goal-scoring leader Simon Gagne his three goals and two assists in the first four games of the road swing. He has eight goals and nine assists in 18 career games against the Bruins

The Bruins return home to open a season-high seven-game homestand. Boston earned a split on a four-game road trip with a 2-1 win Friday over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Patrice Bergeron's short-handed goal with 11:49 to play was the difference.

"You want to make the most of those opportunities," Bergeron said. "I got a great pass and got (Tampa Bay goaltender Sean) Burke sliding."

Rookie goalie Hannu Toivonen made 31 saves for the Bruins. Toivonen has won three of his last four starts, with a 1.74 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage over that span.

STANDINGS: Flyers - 54 points, 1st place, Atlantic Division. Bruins - 34 points, 5th place, 23 PB, Northeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Flyers - Gagne, 27 goals; Forsberg, 40 assists and 53 points; Donald Brashear, 47 PIM. Bruins - Sergei Samsonov, 15 goals and 29 points; Bergeron and Brad Stuart, 16 assists; Hal Gill, 54 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Flyers - Power play: 18.2 percent (44 for 242), 14th in NHL. Penalty killing: 79.2 percent (183 for 231), 28th. Bruins - Power play: 16.4 percent (35 for 214), 20th (tied). Penalty killing: 83.1 percent (197 for 237), 11th.

GOALTENDERS: Flyers - Antero Niittymaki (13-4-4, 1 SO, 2.80 GAA); Jamie Storr (no appearances). Bruins - Toivonen (9-4-4, 1, 2.77); Andrew Raycroft (5-14-2, 0, 3.45).

SEASON SERIES: Flyers, 2-0.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 25; Flyers, 5-3. At Boston, Forsberg and Gagne had three points each to lead Philadelphia as the Bruins lost for the seventh time in eight games.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Flyers - 11-3-3 on the road; Bruins - 6-6-2 at home.

Associated Press
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