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Oilers the team on a hot streak as they face Flyers

by Adam Kimelman

OILERS (23-35-8) at FLYERS (40-19-6)


Last 10 --
Edmonton 7-3-0; Philadelphia 4-5-1

Season series -- This is the only time these teams will play this season. In their lone meeting last season, former Flyer Ryan Potulny scored a power-play goal with 17 seconds left to give the Oilers a 1-0 win in Edmonton. Jeff Deslauriers stopped all 33 Philadelphia shots.

Big story -- The Flyers are playing their worst hockey of the season, having lost four straight, capped by Sunday's 7-0 shellacking by the Rangers. Their leads in the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division have shrunk considerably, and if they weren't a desperate team before, they should be now.

Team Scope:

Oilers --
Saturday's 5-1 defeat of the Colorado Avalanche was a bit of a milestone for Edmonton. Not only was it their third straight victory, but it moved them to 29th in the League standings.

Jumping out of last in the standings might hurt their chances at the 2011 Entry Draft lottery, but the players certainly don't feel that way.

"Everyone talks about getting that (first) pick again," center Sam Gagner told the Edmonton Journal, "but we’ve had enough of that. We got that last year when we got (first pick Taylor Hall). We want to show we're capable ... and maybe on paper these games might not seem that important, but they are for us in here to establish an identity and continue to move forward as a group.

"I know one thing -- if we continue to move up in the standings, it's going to be a very good feeling in this room. That's our mindset going forward."

Flyers --
With a four-game losing streak and a minor flu bug going around the locker room, coach Peter Laviolette ordered his players to stay away from the rink Monday, with the hope that a full day off will be enough to recharge their batteries.

Laviolette said Monday that three days of grueling practices last week, followed by three games in four days -- all losses -- may have tired his team out.

"You need to look no further than me," he told reporters Monday. "I'm the guy that gives them the time off and the time on."

Who's hot -- Flyers forward Kris Versteeg has 3 goals in his last three games and looks to be forming some chemistry with linemate Mike Richards. … Gagner has a three-game point-scoring streak, totaling 2 goals and 3 assists in that span.

Injury report --
Laviolette said forward Jeff Carter, who has missed two of the last three games with the flu, will be in the lineup Tuesday. … Hall (ankle) and defenseman Ryan Whitney (ankle) are out for the season. Forward Ales Hemsky is out 2-3 weeks with a shoulder injury. Defenseman Theo Peckham is out with a concussion and forward Gilbert Brule is questionable with an illness.

Stat pack -- The Oilers are unbeaten in seven straight against the Flyers (six wins, one tie), a stretch that goes back to March 19, 2001. It's been more than 10 years since the Oilers last lost in Philadelphia -- Nov. 9, 2000.

Puck drop --
After Sunday's 7-0 loss to the Rangers -- termed "a beat down and a half" by Richards -- Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger said it didn't seem like all the players were on the same page.

Richards said the distance could be even greater.

"Different chapter, maybe," he said.

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