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Flyers go for four in a row against Sens

by Eric Goodman /
SENATORS (17-23-7) at FLYERS (30-11-5)


Last 10: Ottawa 1-6-3; Philadelphia 8-2-0

Season series: This is the second of four meetings. The Flyers took the first game 5-1 at Ottawa back on Nov. 15 with two goals from captain Mike Richards and 28 saves for Calder Trophy candidate goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. The teams split the season series at Philadelphia in 2009-10.

Big story: Philadelphia has won three in a row with the fail safe combination of skilled scoring, gritty defense and solid goaltending and it now might get its top defenseman Chris Pronger back in the lineup.

GM Paul Holmgren told the Flyers' "On The Fly" blog on Wednesday afternoon that, "Things went really good today and I know he’s felt good the last few days, so I think there's a good chance he'll play tomorrow." The former Hart Trophy-winning defenseman had surgery on his right foot to repair a broken bone on Dec. 17.

Team Scope:

Senators: Ottawa has struggled to beat almost any club its faced recently and it won't help that Wednesday's opponent is one of the League's best. Losers of their last three, the Sens have yet to find their groove this season. The scoring touch simply isn't there as Ottawa's 2.19 goals-per-game average is second worst only to the New Jersey Devils, who are also in last place in the NHL standings. Tuesday's 2-1 shootout loss against Anaheim was unfortunately another example of what has become the norm for the Sens.

"It's been the same thing the last seven of our nine games," said coach Cory Clouston after the game. "We work extremely hard. We out chance a team, outwork them and somehow don't outscore them."

Flyers: The word has been out for a while now on Philadelphia. The boys from Broad Street currently share ownership of the League's best 65 points and show no obvious signs of slowing down. Now that the return of Pronger appears likely, it's safe to assume the Flyers will only get better.

While the Flyers did blow a 2-0 third-period lead on Tuesday, they were quickly bailed out by defenseman Andrej Meszaros' goal just over a minute into overtime for a win in the first of a three-game homestand.

Although coach Peter Laviolette was glad to get the win, he wasn't too pleased with his team's inability to close it out.

"There's something to the fact that when you get off road trips, you get home you get settled in, you play a flat game," he said following the game. "You've got to keep winning in the standings and don't want to look back at a game like tonight and feel like you kicked up two points because you were flat."

Who's hot: Defenseman Erik Karlsson has been impressive for the Sens with a team-leading 27 points and has also reached the score sheet in two of his last three games. The rookie Bobrovsky has been fantastic for Philly all season long and has won his last three with a 2.00 goals-against average over that span.

Injury report: It's been the same story for a while now as key Senators players like goalie Pascal Leclaire (lower body) and forwards Jason Spezza (shoulder) and Alex Kovalev (knee) are sidelined. Now that Pronger should be back, the Flyers will be fully healthy.

Stat pack: Most teams can manage to win at home, but you get to compete for a President's Trophy when you are the Philadelphia Flyers and you lead the NHL with a 16-5-3 road record.

Puck drop:  The Flyers returned home Monday after playing nine of its last 10 games on the road and managing a 7-3-0 record over that span. Coach Laviolette didn't want to jinx the road magic and so he checked the team into a hotel prior to Tuesday's game at Wells Fargo Center in an effort to maintain the atmosphere that brought them much success.

"That's probably why we won, we stayed at the hotel," forward Claude Giroux joked after the game.
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