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Stars take on another division leader in Flyers

by Adam Kimelman
STARS (30-17-5) at FLYERS (34-13-5)

TV -- NHLN-US (HD), RDS; TXA 21 (HD), CSN-Philadelphia (HD) 

Last 10 --
Dallas 6-4-0; Philadelphia 7-3-0

Season series -- This is the first of two meetings between the teams this season. The Flyers have won three straight against the Stars, including both games last season.

Big story -- The Flyers showed nice resilience by bouncing back from a tough shutout loss to the Lightning on Tuesday with a gritty 3-2 win against the Predators on Thursday. They'll face another top team Thursday when the Stars visit. It'll be their third game in five nights against some of the League's top teams.

Team Scope:

Stars -- Thursday is a night Dallas surely would like to forget as soon as possible. In the game's first 80 seconds, they were involved in three fights, fell behind 2-0 and pulled goaltender Andrew Raycroft.

"I don't really know what set (the fights) off, maybe just a little chest-thumping just to start it off," captain Brenden Morrow told the team's website. "I think you use those things to create momentum, and they could go either way. We just made some bad decisions. We were just as excited as they were, but we were just a little bit more reckless. They deserved that lead they got."

Flyers -- After a down game Tuesday against Tampa Bay, which saw them fall behind 2-0 just 1:21 into the game, the Flyers were determined to have a better start Thursday against the Predators. They did that by getting the game's first goal midway through the period by Jeff Carter.

They also didn't get down when Marcel Goc scored 59 seconds later, and after Ville Leino and Joel Ward traded goals in the third, they kept fighting until Leino scored the winner with 3:14 left.

"It's about winning and losing, and as the season starts to push towards the end, if you don't compete at the level at which we did tonight and Nashville did tonight, you'll find yourself not in a hockey game," coach Peter Laviolette said. "Both teams were in a hockey game, it was a playoff style, very competitive game for me and not a lot of scoring chances, not a lot of room to make plays, you had to fight for everything out there, on both sides.  But if you're not ready to do that, you don't do that, and you're playing somebody that is -- it might get lopsided out there."

Who's hot --
Morrow has 4 goals in his last five games. … Carter had a goal and 2 assists Thursday against the Predators, giving him 4 goals and 7 points in his last four games.

Injury report -- The Stars will be without forwards Toby Peterson (lower body), Tom Wandell (shoulder) and Adam Burish (face), all of whom are on injured reserve. They also could be missing defenseman Mark Fistric (illness) and forwards Jamie Benn (shoulder), Travis Morin (dizziness) and Raymond Sawada (nose/shoulder). … The Flyers report no significant injuries.

Stat pack -- With 73 points in 52 games, the Flyers are tied with the 1973-74 and 1974-75 teams for the third-best start in franchise history. Those two teams went on to capture the only two Stanley Cups in franchise history.

Puck drop --
Leino's game-winning goal in the third period was his first two-goal game in the NHL, and came off a pretty spin-o-rama in the slot. As he spun away from a late-arriving Martin Erat, he ripped a backhand over the glove of goalie Anders Lindback.

"That was, well, instinct," Leino said. "I felt that he was on my right side so I turned right away. I knew there was empty space there and as soon as I turned I knew I had to get it up. It turned out well."

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