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Flyers-Panthers Preview

GAME: Philadelphia Flyers (21-8-5) at Florida Panthers (13-20-4).

TIME: Monday, 7 p.m. EST.

The road show continues for the Philadelphia Flyers.

Philadelphia hopes to build on the momentum of a solid start to a franchise-record 11-game road trip as they visit the Florida Panthers.

A holiday ice show at Philadelphia's Wachovia Center until Jan. 8 has forced the Flyers and the NBA's 76ers on extended road trips. The Flyers will not play at home again until Jan. 14 when they meet the Colorado Avalanche.

The Flyers extended their road winning streak to three games with a 5-4 win Friday over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Simon Gagne had a goal and an assist for the second straight game since missing five with an injured groin and Mike Knuble and Peter Forsberg tallied late to put Philadelphia in front for good.

"We've got a two-game trend going with building big leads and letting them slide away, but we've been able to step up to the plate when we're down," Knuble said, referring to a 4-3 win the previous night over the Northeast Division-leading Ottawa Senators in which the Flyers nearly blew a three-goal, first-period advantage.

Philadelphia has earned points in each of its last seven road contests, going 6-0-1 during that stretch, with the lone blemish coming Dec. 3 in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Nashville Predators.

The Panthers had won four of five before Friday's 4-3 loss to the Southeast Division-leading Carolina Hurricanes.

Olli Jokinen had two goals and an assist to lead the Panthers, and Gary Roberts also scored and had an assist, but missed on a key chance to tie it in the final minute.

"I thought we competed hard," Florida coach Jacques Martin said. "We made some mistakes, but we had to face a lot of adversity."

The Panthers were called for 17 minor penalties, compared to nine for the Hurricanes.

"That's embarrassing. That's all I'm going to say," said Florida defenseman Sean Hill.

Florida has scored 14 goals durign a three-game home winning streak.

STANDINGS: Flyers - 47 points, 1st place, Atlantic Division. Panthers - 30 points, 4th place, 18 PB, Southeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Flyers - Gagne, 25 goals; Forsberg, 38 assists and 50 points; Donald Brashear, 45 PIM. Panthers - Jokinen and Nathan Horton, 16 goals; Jokinen, 21 assists and 37 points; Chris Gratton, 59 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Dec. 25): Flyers - Power play: 19.2 percent (42 for 219), 8th in NHL. Penalty killing: 78.5 percent (164 for 209), 29th. Panthers - Power play: 15.6 percent (30 for 192), 20th. Penalty killing: 81.3 percent (196 for 241), 23rd.

GOALTENDERS: Flyers - Robert Esche (11-4-2, 0 SO, 3.14 GAA); Antero Niittymaki (10-4-3, 1, 2.85). Panthers - Roberto Luongo (13-16-4, 2, 3.13); Jamie McLennan (0-4-0, 0, 3.10).

SEASON SERIES: Flyers, 2-0.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 12; Flyers, 5-4. At Philadelphia, Knuble scored a short-handed goal with just 3.2 seconds remaining as the Flyers won their sixth straight overall and ninth in a row at home.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Flyers - 8-3-2 on the road; Panthers - 10-6-1 at home.

Associated Press
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