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Flyers kick off hectic home stretch vs. Senators

Philadelphia, pursuing playoff berth, has three back-to-back sets in final nine days

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

SENATORS (36-33-9) at FLYERS (38-25-13)

TV: 1 p.m. ET; CSN-PH, RDS, TSN5, NHL.TV

Season series: The Ottawa Senators and Philadelphia Flyers have split two games this season at Canadian Tire Centre. Senators goalie Craig Anderson made 36 saves in a 4-0 victory Nov. 21. Center Sean Couturier had one goal and two assists in a 4-2 Flyers win Dec. 1.

Senators team scope: Ottawa did not practice Friday. Forward Mark Stone won't play Saturday, general manager Bryan Murray told the Ottawa Sun on Friday, but is hopeful he can return to the lineup next week. Stone sustained a chest injury March 30 against the Winnipeg Jets. Murray said he and other members of his staff have started discussions about potential changes on and off the ice next season. "After talking to Eugene (Melnyk, owner), over a month ago now, we both kind of agreed we just kind of had to take a look at everything that was going on, from player development to on-ice product," Murray said. "… We're just sitting around doing a lot of talking and a lot of evaluation of where we are (with) what players and what else has to happen here to make it better." Murray said he hasn't decided if he'll remain GM next season or move into an advisor role. He has been battling Stage 4 colon cancer and Melnyk has said Murray will decide his future.

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Flyers team scope: Philadelphia captain Claude Giroux did not practice Friday because of a maintenance day, according to the Courier-Post. He was the only player missing from what could have been the Flyers' final full practice of the season; starting Saturday they play their final six regular-season games in nine days, with three sets of back-to-back games. Goaltender Ray Emery was signed to a contract for the remainder of the season Friday but Sportsnet said Emery must go through waivers before he officially can join the Flyers, since he played in Europe earlier this season. The Senators, Emery's first NHL team, are out of playoff contention but the Flyers won't take them lightly. They have won two straight, including a 3-2 defeat of the Minnesota Wild on Thursday. "I watched a lot of their game," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. "They played really well, and that was on a back-to-back. They're a fast transition team that makes a lot of plays."

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