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Flyers face tough road test against Bruins

by Adam Kimelman

FLYERS (11-13-1) at BRUINS (15-3-3)


Last 10: Philadelphia 5-5-0; Boston 7-2-1

Season series: This is the first of three games between the teams, and the only one that will be played in Boston. The Bruins won three of four games between the teams last season, including a pair of shootout victories.

Big story: Can the Flyers pull out of a slide that has seen them drop out of the playoff hunt in the Eastern Conference? Or will the Bruins continue to keep pace with the Northeast Division- and Eastern Conference-leading Montreal Canadiens?

Team Scope:

Flyers: It's been a rough time for Flyers defenseman Andrej Meszaros. Back surgery in March kept him out of the lineup until the Flyers' final postseason game, and then he tore his Achilles tendon during offseason workouts. Four games into his return this season, he injured his shoulder and has been sidelined since Jan. 24.

He could make another return to the lineup Saturday when the Flyers play the Bruins. Meszaros skated on a paring with Erik Gustafsson at Friday's practice, and a roster spot was opened for him to come off injured reserve when suspended forward Harry Zolnierczyk was sent to the AHL.

"I don't know yet," he told in regard to playing Saturday. "We'll see. I have to talk to everybody."

With two straight losses dropping them to 11th in the Eastern Conference after Thursday's 5-4 defeat against the Penguins, having Meszaros back in the lineup would be a welcome sight.

"I think he adds a different element of the game than a [Braydon] Coburn or [Nicklas] Grossmann brings," forward Scott Hartnell told "He jumps up in the play a lot. He's got great hands. He's got a big shot. Not that those guys don't, but he can definitely bring a different element to the blue line. If he's feeling 80, 90 percent, we'd love to have him."

Bruins: How important has the Bruins' top line of Patrice Bergeron, Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand been? That trio has scored 25 of the Bruins' 73 non-shootout goals this season, including 14 of 30 in the last nine games.

"We've got three good players on that line," coach Claude Julien told "Brad Marchand is a really good player in this League. He doesn't get the credit he deserves because he instigates a lot of stuff. Bergeron has already been recognized for his two-way work. Tyler is a great player. We've got some great players there."

The key to the trio could be Seguin rediscovering his scoring touch. After scoring three goals in his first 18 games, he has four in his previous four, including two goals Thursday against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"I felt like the last few games I had been taking those shots from outside the defense," Seguin told "[Thursday] I was cutting in and taking them right toward the net. You can definitely see the difference."

Who's hot: With five points in his previous three games, Flyers forward Jakub Voracek now has 29 points in 25 games, putting him on pace for a career-best 56 points. … Bergeron has eight points in his previous five games.

Injury report: While Meszaros is questionable, the Flyers will not have forwards Tye McGinn (orbital) and Jody Shelley (hip) available. … The Bruins have no major injuries to report.

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