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Flyers hit road hoping to get refocused

by Adam Kimelman
FLYERS (46-22-11) at SENATORS (30-39-10)


Last 10:
Philadelphia 3-3-4; Ottawa 5-4-1

Season series:
This will be the fourth and final meeting between the teams this season. The Flyers won the first two games, in Philadelphia, by a combined score of 11-3. The Senators won their most recent meeting, 4-1 in Ottawa on Feb. 26. Rookie Erik Condra scored his first two NHL goals and Craig Anderson stopped 30 of 31 shots.

Big story:
The Flyers must be hoping getting on the road will help their situation, because they've been terrible at home recently, going 0-2-4 in their last six. They've won three of their last four and five of their last seven on the road.

The Flyers can clinch the Atlantic Division with a win and a Penguins loss to the Devils. They also can clinch with an overtime/shootout loss if the Pens lose in regulation.

With Tuesday being Fan Appreciation Night at Scotiabank Place, the Senators will look to give their fans something to cheer about.

Team Scope:

With Danny Briere going out before the game due to lower-body soreness and Blair Betts missing the third period with a lower-body injury, it was surprising that coach Peter Laviolette would shorten his bench even further by playing Ville Leino just two shifts in the third period and not at all in the overtime in Sunday's 3-2 shootout loss to the New York Rangers.

All Laviolette said about the decision was, "We just shortened the bench in the third and tightened it up."

Leino, who had offseason hip surgery and has missed time this season when he's felt pain in his hip, told reporters after Sunday's game that he was healthy.

"I'm OK," Leino said. "Obviously, I want to play and I want to be part of a tight battle like that but that's the coach’s decision."

Despite a back injury that has kept him sidelined since Feb. 7, and the fact that he'll turn 39 halfway through next season, Daniel Alfredsson said he has every intention of playing for Ottawa next season.

"Going through this year, how tough it's been, you look forward to coming back and going in another direction next year," he told reporters Monday. "When you have such a long period of layoff as we do until the season starts up, there's a lot of time to get excited and get ready for next year."

Alfredsson also said despite the team sitting 14th in the Eastern Conference, he sees a bright future.

"I believe we have seen a lot of the draft picks we've had the last few years play pretty well," he said. "Who knows what's going to happen with our picks at this draft. Definitely going in a direction where I think a lot of players and fans feel good about."

Who's hot:
Flyers forward James van Riemsdyk has goals in two straight games and has 5 goals and 2 assists in his last seven games. … Senators center Jason Spezza has been red-hot, with 7 goals and 11 assists in his last 15 games.

Injury report: Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger (hand) is out until the playoffs. Briere and Betts are doubtful due to lower-body injuries. Forward Jody Shelley is questionable with a broken orbital bone. … Besides Alfredsson, it's unlikely defensemen Erik Karlsson (lacerated thigh) and Sergei Gonchar (concussion) or forwards Marek Svatos (concussion) and Peter Regin (shoulder) play again this season.

Stat pack:
Philadelphia is 2-for-29 on the power play in its last 11 games, and has fallen to 21st in the League at 16.2 percent. Last season, the Flyers were third in the League at 21.4 percent.

Puck drop: Ben Holmstrom will receive an early birthday present when he gets to play his second NHL game Tuesday in Ottawa.

Holmstrom, who turns 23 on Saturday, was recalled by the Flyers from AHL Adirondack on Monday. He played his first NHL game March 3, playing 8:06 on the fourth line against Toronto.

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