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Flyers, Jets gear up offenses for another clash

by Adam Kimelman
JETS (22-22-6) at FLYERS (29-14-5)


Last 10:
Winnipeg 3-6-1; Philadelphia 6-3-1

Season series:
This is the third of four meetings between the teams this season. The Jets won the first two games, including a 6-4 victory Nov. 19, their most recent matchup, behind a pair of goals by Bryan Little.

Big Story:
Their first two meetings this season saw the scoreboard roll like a tote board -- 27 goals combined in two games. Will this one be another high-scoring affair?

Team Scope:

Jets: With the way the month of January has gone, the Jets were ready to get away from hockey for a few days during the All-Star break.

A 3-8-1 run so far in January was capped by a 3-0 loss at the Rangers that dropped the Jets to 10th in the Eastern Conference, five points out of a playoff spot.

"We've hit a dry spell and it's a little bit frustrating," coach Claude Noel told the Winnipeg Free Press. "For us, we're going to have to take a break and regroup when we get back."

It won't be easy when the start up again. Tuesday's game in Philadelphia is the first of a stretch of six of seven on the road, where Winnipeg has gone a conference-worst 7-14-4.

Despite injuries to key players, a ton of new faces to integrate into the lineup and inconsistent goaltending, Philadelphia has managed to stay in the hunt for the top spot in the Eastern Conference all season.

At the All-Star break, the Flyers' 63 points leaves them just three behind the conference-leading New York Rangers.

"We've shown a real resiliency to bounce back and hang in through a lot of tough situations that the team has dealt with," general manager Paul Holmgren told the Philadelphia Daily News. "Moving forward, we know we need to get better in a lot of areas. But overall, we're certainly OK with where we're at."

The biggest surprise might be on defense, where the Flyers have lost No. 1 blueliner Chris Pronger for the season with a concussion, and have seen rookies Erik Gustafsson and Marc-Andre Bourdon succeed in major roles.

"I think we still have four guys (Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn, Matt Carle, Andrej Meszaros) who can play a lot of minutes in all situations," Holmgren said. "I think the two young kids that we've got playing have held their own. So, I don't feel it (a trade for a No. 1 defenseman) is something we have to do."

Who's Hot:
Jets forward Nik Antropov has 3 goals and 3 assists in his last six games. … Flyers rookie forward Matt Read has 3 goals in two games against the Jets this season.

Injury Report:
Flyers forwards James van Riemsdyk and Danny Briere are out indefinitely with concussions, while forwards Jaromir Jagr (lower body) and Zac Rinaldo (upper body) are considered day-to-day. … Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien (knee) and forward Evander Kane (concussion) are out.

Stat Pack: The first game these teams played easily was the wildest of the season, a 9-8 Jets win Oct. 27 in Philadelphia. The 17 goals were scored by 15 different players, and all four goalies played. It also was the highest-scoring NHL game since the Sharks and Penguins combined for 18 goals in a game in 1996.

Puck Drop: There were a number of memorable quotes from the team's first game, as well:

Noel: "It's the strangest game I've been a part of. It was like an NFL game. We can't make a lot of logic out of what we did there. I thought to myself, 'Self, you're a sick man trying to make logic of this.'"

Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, who allowed four goals on 10 shots in relief of starter Sergei Bobrovsky: "I have zero confidence in myself right now. I am terrible. … I am lost in the woods right now."

Andrew Ladd, who scored the winning goal with 66 seconds left in regulation: "It was kind of like (video game) 'Blades of Steel' out there."

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