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Flyers-Bruins Preview @NHLdotcom

A matchup with the Boston Bruins last month helped the Philadelphia Flyers string together a few victories. They're probably hoping another contest against the Eastern Conference leaders provides them with a similar opportunity.

The Flyers seek to avoid a third straight loss Tuesday night when they face the host Bruins.

Philadelphia (33-18-10) dropped five of eight from Jan. 13-Feb. 4, a span that was capped by a 3-1 home defeat to Boston (42-12-9). Three days later, though, the Flyers rallied from a two-goal deficit for a 4-3 overtime victory over the Bruins at TD Banknorth Garden.

That win was part of a 7-2-0 surge that was ended by back-to-back losses over the weekend, as the Flyers followed Friday's 4-3 overtime setback against visiting Montreal with Sunday's 3-0 defeat at New Jersey.

"Not a very good one from our part," said Simon Gagne, who had three goals and four assists in seven games before the Flyers suffered their third shutout. "We did not test (Martin Brodeur) enough and they got the best of us."

Philadelphia, which is fourth in the tightly packed East, is sure to be challenged by the Bruins' goaltending, as Tim Thomas leads the league with a 2.06 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage and Manny Fernandez is fourth (2.24) and eighth (.921), respectively.

"I think always against a first-place team, you want to see where you are and how you do against them," Antero Niittymaki, who is 1-3-1 with a 3.73 GAA in his last five games against the Bruins, told the Flyers' official Web site.

Thomas made 23 saves through regulation before allowing the decisive goal early in overtime of a 4-3 loss to Southeast Division-leading Washington on Saturday. Alexander Semin won the game with an 80-foot slap shot, dropping the Bruins to 3-4-3 in their last 10 - a span that also includes the defeat to the Flyers.

"(Thomas has) given us too much to be worried about that," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "Call it a lucky goal or a bad goal; we can call it what we want. But those are shots that shouldn't go in."

Still, Julien's club gained a point to pull into a tie with West-leading San Jose in the race for the Presidents' Trophy. Boston's 93 points are also eight more than New Jersey and Washington, who are tied for second in the conference standings.

The Bruins boast a 21-4-5 home record, but have dropped five of their last nine there (4-1-4).

Thomas has won 10 of 17 games at TD Banknorth Garden and is 5-1-1 with a 2.40 GAA in seven career games versus Philadelphia after winning on Feb. 4. Fernandez is 0-1-2 in his last three and 1-4-1 with a tie and a 2.90 GAA in eight career games against the Flyers following the Feb. 7 loss.

Boston's starting netminder is uncertain, as is the status of forward Milan Lucic (upper body injury).

Philadelphia, meanwhile, expects to have Danny Briere in the lineup for a second straight game after he missed the previous 35 following abdominal-groin surgery. The center, limited to 10 games, hasn't faced the Bruins this season, but has 12 goals and 35 points in 31 matchups.

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