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Pens look to go 4-0 against Flyers

by Brian Compton

FLYERS (20-19-3) at PENGUINS (27-16-1)

Last 10: Philadelphia 5-3-2; Pittsburgh 4-6-0.

Season Series: This is the fourth of six meetings between the Atlantic Division rivals. The Penguins improved to 3-0 against the Flyers with a 3-2 shootout victory on Dec. 17 at the Wachovia Center.

Big Story: The Flyers are starting to turn things around under new bench boss Peter Laviolette. Philadelphia has earned points in seven of its last 10 games and moved above the .500 mark on Wednesday night.

Team Scope:

Flyers: It was a penalty-filled battle at the Wachovia Center on Wednesday, but Philadelphia still cruised to a 6-2 victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs and briefly moved out of the basement in the Atlantic Division. The Flyers, though, ended the night in last place due to the New York Islanders' 3-2 win at Colorado. Danny Briere scored twice against the Leafs and earned his 500th NHL point in the win.

''We have to try to get as many points as we can, try to win games, and get back in the playoff picture,'' Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger said. ''We need to take it to another level.''

Penguins: After losing five in a row, Pittsburgh got back on track Tuesday night behind a pair of goals from Jordan Staal in a 5-2 win against the Atlanta Thrashers at Mellon Arena. Brent Johnson made 31 saves in his 11th start.

"It's nice to get on the winning side again," Staal said after his team stopped its worst skid of the season. "We kept it simple, didn't turn the puck over a whole lot and we played in their end a lot more. When you do those things, you're going to find ways to win games."

Who's Hot: Flyers goalie Michael Leighton made 30 saves in his seventh straight start on Wednesday night and improved to 7-2-1.

Injury Report: Flyers goalie Ray Emery (abdominal surgery) has missed 15 straight games but could be back by the weekend, while defenseman Ryan Parent (back) is day-to-day. … Penguins forward Chris Kunitz (abdomen) is expected to miss 4-6 weeks, while defenseman Sergei Gonchar (knee) will likely be a game-time decision.

Stat Pack: The Flyers will have five Olympians in the 2010 Winter Games — Chris Pronger and Mike Richards (Canada), Kimmo Timonen (Finland), Oskars Bartulis (Latvia) and Ole-Kristian Tollefsen (Norway).

Puck Drop: "I don't think other teams want to play against our line. Both (Ian Laperriere and Daniel Carcillo) play physical and are willing to drop the gloves. They are guys you can move up and down the lineup. You've got to have guys like that on your team." -- Flyers forward Blair Betts
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