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Flyers' Bryzgalov faces ex-mates for first time

by Adam Kimelman

COYOTES (9-4-3) at FLYERS (10-4-3)


Last 10: Phoenix 7-1-2; Philadelphia 6-2-2

Season Series: This is the first of two meetings between the teams this season. In their lone meeting in 2010-11, Shane Doan's goal at 2:41 of overtime gave the Coyotes a 3-2 victory in Philadelphia.

Big Story: Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov will face his former teammates from Phoenix for the first time.

Team Scope:

Coyotes: Phoenix coach Dave Tippett certainly was happy to have the two points his team earned for its 3-2 shootout victory Tuesday in Toronto. It's how they got those points that he's not real happy about.

The Coyotes took a 2-0 lead 5:18 into the game, but couldn't find any more offense in regulation and then had to hold on to get to overtime after the Leafs scored twice in the first 4:41 of the third period.

"The first 10 minutes we managed the puck and did good things with it," Tippett told the Coyotes' website. "The rest of the game we decided to entertain the fans. That is what it was. It was a turnover-fest for both teams and it turned into an entertaining game. ... We came here, we got two points. Now it's time to move on."

Flyers: Bryzgalov tried to play it off, calling Thursday's battle with the Coyotes "game No. 18," but later admitted to reporters, "It's special. It's my former team, I have lots of friends. I can't forget the time I played there. It was good years. Like I said before, lots of good friends that worked in the organization. It is going to be a very special game, yeah."

Bryzgalov spent most of four seasons with the Coyotes, including back-to-back playoff runs the previous two postseasons.

He maintains a soft spot for the city, the team and his former teammates.

"I really appreciate everything they did for me," he said. "I wish them the best. I'm really glad they are doing well without me because they deserve it. They work extremely hard. They have beautiful people in that organization -- management and coaches and a good group of guys. I have lots of friends out there."

Who's Hot: After winning just once in his first four games, Coyotes goalie Mike Smith is 7-0-2. … Flyers center Claude Giroux had two goals and an assist in Monday's 5-3 win at Carolina; with six points in his last five games, he's moved into a tie for second in the League scoring race with 22 points.

Injury Report: The Coyotes will be without center Daymond Langkow, who is away from the team due to a death in the family, and defenseman Michal Rozsival, who has an upper-body injury. … Philadelphia defenseman Erik Gustafsson will miss at least six weeks following wrist surgery Thursday. Forward Andreas Nodl (lower body) is questionable for Thursday's game.

Stat Pack: Since allowing three power-play goals on six chances opening night, the Coyotes have allowed just four goals in their last 15 games.

Puck Drop: Philadelphia already leads the League in scoring at 3.82 goals per game, and could be getting a bit more firepower in the lineup soon. Rookie forward Brayden Schenn skated with teammates for the first time since breaking his left foot blocking a shot Oct. 26 in Montreal. Schenn skated on a line with fellow extra forwards Nodl and Jody Shelley. While he went hard in drills, there's no timeline for his return, and Schenn still is wearing a walking boot off the ice.

"If I can't go hard then there is no point in me being out there," he told reporters. "I feel pretty good. Really, all I can do is get myself back in skating shape. Hopefully, it continues to heal."

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