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Nashville Predators vs. Philadelphia Flyers @NHLdotcom
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GAME: Nashville Predators (32-23-8-2) at Philadelphia Flyers (33-16-12-6).

TIME: Wednesday, 7 p.m. EST.

Waiting for so many key players to return, the Philadelphia Flyers have been unable to build momentum as the postseason approaches.

Their fight for the Eastern Conference's top seed continues when the Nashville Predators visit the Wachovia Center.

All-Star centers Keith Primeau and Jeremy Roenick join defensemen Eric Desjardins, Marcus Ragnarsson and Dennis Seidenberg on the Flyers' injured list.

While Roenick might not be back during the regular season, Primeau has been sidelined longer than originally expected following the concussion he received on Feb. 12.

"I'd have to say this is the most frustrating thing I have ever been through, because I really don't know how to gauge where I am at," the Flyers captain said. "I have good days and think I am making progress, then only to fall flat on my face the next day."

While Desjardins (broken forearm) should return within the next few weeks, Seidenberg (broken leg) is likely out for the season. The news for the Philadelphia defense got worse Monday when the team learned Ragnarsson would miss a week to 10 days with an ailing shoulder.

"It's not as bad as it was before. I can skate right now but I can't do any contact," Ragnarsson said.

Goaltender Robert Esche had sat out nearly a month due to a sprained knee before returning to the lineup Saturday at Boston, making 29 saves in a 3-2 overtime loss.

Sean Burke was in net for Sunday's 4-2 loss at Detroit as Philadelphia closed an 0-1-1-1 road trip.

The Flyers are 2-4-1-1 since Feb. 15, but remain tied for the best record in the East. Thanks to New Jersey losing three straight, Philadelphia's lead in the Atlantic Division is up to six points.

Nashville has little chance to catch Detroit for the Central Division crown, standing 11 points back, but is in position to notch the franchise's first playoff berth.

The Predators have lost just once in their last seven (5-1-1). Tomas Vokoun has a 1.81 goals-against average during that stretch, surrendering just three in the last three games.

Though Vokoun made 31 saves in Sunday's 2-2 tie at home against Chicago, many Predators were unhappy to get just one point against one of the league's worst teams. Nashville failed to score until Scott Walker's goal midway through the third period, then gave up the tying tally with 1:44 remaining.

"For two periods I felt like we should be happy to just get a point," defenseman Kimmo Timonen said. "Then, in the last two minutes we lost a point. They are a hard team to play against, but we can't be happy with losing a point like that."

Nashville is 2-0-2 in this series since losing to Philadelphia on March 21, 2000.

STANDINGS: Predators - 74 points, 2nd place, 11 PB, Central Division. Flyers - 84 points, 1st place, Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Predators - Steve Sullivan, 21 goals, 35 assists and 56 points; Jordin Tootoo, 125 PIM. Flyers - Mark Recchi, 24 goals, 39 assists and 63 points; Donald Brashear, 135 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through March 1): Predators - Power play: 16.6 percent (57 for 344), 13th in NHL. Penalty killing: 82.6 percent (252 for 305), 22nd. Flyers - Power play: 23.4 percent (59 for 252), 1st. Penalty killing: 84.0 percent (241 for 287), 18th.

GOALTENDERS: Predators - Vokoun (29-22-7, 3 SO, 2.52 GAA); Chris Mason (3-3-1, 1, 2.11). Flyers - Esche (16-7-5, 2, 1.95); Burke (14-19-6, 1, 2.85).

2002-03 SEASON SERIES: 0-0-1.

LAST MEETING: March 25, 2003; 1-1 tie. At Nashville, Tenn., Vokoun stopped 42 shots and Mark Eaton scored the tying goal with 1:24 left in regulation.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Predators - 11-16-2-1 on the road; Flyers - 20-7-2-3 at home.

Associated Press
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