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Flyers return home to face Predators

by Adam Kimelman

PREDATORS (20-21-7) at FLYERS (24-19-4)


Last 10: Nashville 4-3-3; Philadelphia 7-3-0

Season series: It's the second and final time the Nashville Predators and Philadelphia Flyers will play in 2013-14. On Nov. 30, Vincent Lecavalier scored the only goal of the shootout to give the Flyers a 3-2 victory in Nashville.

Big story: The Flyers are back at Wells Fargo Center for the first time since their 10-game home win streak was snapped Saturday with a 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. They needed a goal by Lecavalier with 15 seconds remaining in regulation to beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 on Tuesday and snap a two-game losing streak.

The Predators hit the road after concluding their five-game homestand by beating the Calgary Flames 4-2 on Tuesday, snapping a three-game winless skid. It's a quick trip for the Predators, who return home for two more games: Saturday against the Colorado Avalanche and Monday against the Dallas Stars.

Team Scope:

Predators: Nashville general manager David Poile said he couldn't pass on a chance to upgrade his team's goaltending Wednesday, which led to the club acquiring Devan Dubnyk from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for forward Matt Hendricks.

The Predators have been using rookies Marek Mazanec and Carter Hutton while starter Pekka Rinne recovers from having arthroscopic surgery on his hip Oct. 24 to clean out a bacterial infection. Only recently has he been cleared to begin weight-bearing exercises.

However, Predators coach Barry Trotz criticized Hutton publicly following a loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Jan. 5, and Hutton has played once since then.

"We very much believe Pekka is coming back," Poile said. "There is still no timetable on his return and Dubnyk is great to fill in that spot."

Dubnyk arrived in Philadelphia on Wednesday and had dinner with goaltending coach Mitch Korn. The team announced his immigration paperwork cleared Thursday afternoon, meaning he could be available to be the backup to starter Carter Hutton on Thursday.

Flyers: Philadelphia's top line of Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell and Michael Raffl will draw the majority of the attention from opposing teams, but the line featuring center Sean Couturier between Matt Read and Lecavalier could be the Flyers' most complete trio.

Read's return to the lineup after missing six games with a concussion paid dividends as he and Couturier earned assists on Lecavalier's game-winning goal in the final seconds of regulation.

"They really haven't played much together," coach Craig Berube said Wednesday. "[Read] was hurt and Vinny was hurt.

"They're going to have an opportunity to work together now and see what can happen. You've got a little of everything on that line. Vinny is a shooter and a scorer, Read has the speed and Couturier is a good two-way hockey player. That can be a good combination."

Who's hot: Predators forward David Legwand had three assists Tuesday against Calgary, his second three-point game of the season. … Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds has 10 goals and seven assists in his past 14 games.

Injury report: Rinne (hip) is out for Nashville. … Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo (ankle) is out.


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