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Philadelphia Flyers vs. Ottawa Senators @NHLdotcom
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GAME: Philadelphia Flyers (33-15-11-5) at Ottawa Senators (34-16-8-5).

TIME: Thursday, 7:30 p.m. EST.

Despite missing several regulars, the Philadelphia Flyers have rebounded from a season-high three-game losing streak with two straight wins.

Beating Atlanta and Chicago at home, however, isn't quite the same as winning at Ottawa.

The Flyers will try to make it three wins in a row when they visit the Senators in a matchup of two of the league's elite teams.

Philadelphia is trying to hold off New Jersey for first place in the Atlantic Division while Ottawa is battling Toronto and Boston for the Northeast Division title. The Flyers and Senators are two of several teams that are in the race for the Presidents' Trophy and home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs.

Alex Zhamnov made an impact in his first game with his new team, scoring a goal in the first period and missing a penalty shot in the third in Philadelphia's 3-1 victory over Chicago on Tuesday.

Zhamnov played his first game with the Flyers after he was acquired from the Blackhawks on Thursday.

With top center Jeremy Roenick and captain Keith Primeau both sidelined with concussions, the Flyers need Zhamnov to get acclimated to his new surroundings quickly.

"It was a strange feeling, I am glad everything went well," Zhamnov said. "It was most important to win. I got a lot of questions before the game. When I had the penalty shot, to be honest, I had no idea what to do."

While Roenick, Primeau, rugged forwards Donald Brashear and Todd Fedoruk and defenseman Eric Desjardins are all out with injuries, the Flyers are happy to be getting goaltender Robert Esche back.

Esche hasn't played since Feb. 2 due to a knee injury, but could start Saturday's game at Boston.

"It's adding another piece to the puzzle," Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We're trying to collect points and stay afloat. Esche is a very competent goalie who has had a heck of a year."

Ottawa, which has eliminated Philadelphia from the playoffs each of the past two seasons, allowed three unanswered third-period goals in a 4-2 loss at Montreal on Tuesday.

Captain Daniel Alfredsson set up goals by Martin Havlat and Mike Fisher for the Senators, who suffered their first regulation loss in 10 games (6-1-1-2).

"We killed a lot of penalties, but it doesn't matter," Senators coach Jacques Martin said. "They wanted it more than us."

Ottawa hasn't lost a home game in regulation since Dec. 13, going 14-0-2-2 at the Corel Centre since a 3-2 loss to Boston.

Havlat has nine goals and six assists in his last 10 games.

STANDINGS (through Feb. 24): Flyers - 82 points, 1st place, Atlantic Division. Senators - 81 points, 1st place, Northeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Flyers - Mark Recchi, 22 goals, 39 assists and 61 points; Brashear, 131 PIM. Senators - Marian Hossa, 26 goals, 40 assists and 66 points; Chris Neil, 144 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Feb. 24): Flyers - Power play: 23.5 percent (57 for 243), 1st in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.2 percent (230 for 273), 18th. Senators - Power play: 22.2 percent (67 for 302), 2nd. Penalty killing: 84.5 percent (223 for 264), 14th.

GOALTENDERS: Flyers - Sean Burke (14-18-5, 1 SO, 2.87 GAA); Esche (16-6-5, 2, 1.91). Senators - Patrick Lalime (21-17-6, 3, 2.28); Martin Prusek (12-4-2, 3, 1.86).

SEASON SERIES: Senators, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Dec. 1; Senators, 4-1. At Ottawa, Havlat scored twice and Prusek turned aside 31 shots for the Senators.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Flyers - 13-8-9-2 on the road; Senators - 20-7-4-4 at home.

Associated Press
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