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Flyers face Flames, look to tie season-high win streak

by Adam Kimelman

FLAMES (22-28-7) at FLYERS (29-23-6)


Last 10: Calgary 6-3-1; Philadelphia 5-4-1

Season series: It's the second and final time the Philadelphia Flyers and Calgary Flames will play this season. On Dec. 31, Brayden Schenn had a goal and two assists in the Flyers' 4-1 victory in Calgary. It will be the Flames' first game in Philadelphia since Nov. 26, 2010.

Big story: The Flyers will look to head into the Olympic break on a four-game winning streak, which would tie their season best.

The Flames' recent surge, which has seen them win six of seven, has moved them from 20 points out of a Stanley Cup Playoff spot when their run began Jan. 22 to 12 points out heading into play Friday.

Team Scope:

Flames: When the Flames hired Bob Hartley as coach, the hope was he could bring a measure of toughness to the team. So far that's manifested itself in the players' propensity to block shots. Entering the weekend the Flames had blocked 1,000 shots, second in the League to the 1,093 blocks by the Montreal Canadiens.

Defenseman Chris Butler leads the team and is third in the League with 150 blocks. The Flames have three players in the top 10 in the League -- Butler, defenseman Ladislav Smid (fifth, 135) and defenseman Kris Russell (ninth, 123). Center Lance Bouma is fifth among NHL forwards with 54 blocks.

"We feel that shot-blocking is a big part of a game, and it starts with your desire to win," Hartley told the Calgary Sun. "You have the choice and it's an ultimate commitment to get your leg or get your body in front of a shot that many times is probably close to 100 miles an hour. Don't worry on the bench when a guy blocks a shot; his teammates are the first ones to remind him of how great he is and we tap them on the back too.

"It's contagious. When [Bouma] is sliding in front of two or three shots in a row guys on the bench are almost standing up and, 'Way to go Boums!' I think it helps us win games. But at the same time it brings a lot of life to the team."

Flyers: After a long night Thursday, coach Craig Berube gave goalie Steve Mason the day off from practice Friday, calling it a maintenance day. For Mason it was a time to drink some water and rebuild his fluid level.

Mason said he started suffering from cramps caused by dehydration during the second period of the Flyers' 3-1 win against the Colorado Avalanche, and the cramping plagued him all through the third. He finished with 38 saves as the Flyers won their third straight game.

"You name it, it was cramping," Mason said following the game.

Berube said he had thoughts about removing Mason during the third period and had backup Ray Emery stretching in the hallway between the bench and the dressing room in case he had to make a change. But Mason was able to gut his way through to the final horn.

"Just clock watching more than anything," Mason said of the final 20 minutes. "Just looking for a stoppage to calm down and try to slow your breathing down to slow the rate of the cramping. It was a long third period."

Who's hot: Flames forward Mikael Backlund has six goals and four assists in his past six games. … Flyers defenseman Mark Streit has power-play goals in back-to-back games after going 10 games without a goal. He has seven points in his past seven games.

Injury report: Flames goaltender Karri Ramo (knee) and forward Curtis Glencross (ankle) are out. … Mason (cramps/dehydration) is probable for the Flyers.

Follow Adam Kimelman on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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