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Wild to give Khudobin first NHL start against Flyers

by Adam Kimelman
FLYERS (28-24-3) at WILD (28-25-4)
Last 10: Philadelphia 5-5-0; Minnesota 4-5-1
Season series:
This is the first of two meetings between the teams this season. In their only meeting last season, the Flyers' Mike Knuble snapped a 1-1 tie with a power-play goal 5:10 into the third period to lead Philadelphia to a 3-1 win at the Wachovia Center.
Big Story: The Flyers will try to put their disastrous 1-0 loss to the Oilers on Wednesday behind them as they finish a three-game road trip.
The Wild will try to build off their 4-2 win against the Oilers on Thursday, which snapped a two-game losing streak and opened a five-game homestand.
Team Scope:

Flyers -- Want to know how the Flyers have done this season? Check their special teams success. When the Flyers score a power-play goal, they're 23-9-2; when they don't, they're 5-15-1. When they allow a power-play goal, they're 12-17-2.

Their loss to the Oilers is a prime example of what happens when special teams play goes wrong. The Flyers were 0-for-4 on the power play, and the game's lone goal came on an Edmonton power play.
Wild -- With Niklas Backstrom sick and Josh Harding injuring his hip, rookie Anton Khudobin will make his first NHL start in goal Saturday. According to the Wild's Web site, the 23-year-old native of Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan, used the extra attention from the media to tell a few amusing stories about his life.
One featured him talking about how his parents put him in dance class.
"My parents tried to put me in schools so I would grow up faster, and my father's friend was a professional karate coach, and he put me in there and I said, 'Father, no. I don't like that,'" Khudobin said. "I don't really remember the dancing, it was just kids put in some group or some hole, and they just, like, I don't know."
Who's Hot -- Flyers center Jeff Carter has 6 goals and 3 assists in his last 10 games. … Wild left wing Andrew Brunette has a point in three straight games, and 8 points in his last eight games.
Injury Report --
Flyers goalie Ray Emery likely will be back in net after being scratched from Wednesday's game against Edmonton. Coach Peter Laviolette said Emery was healthy, but in need of a full night off, his first since returning Jan. 17 from abdominal surgery. Michael Leighton started and Brian Boucher served as the backup.
In addition to their goaltending issues, Wild forward Derek Boogaard is questionable with a hamstring injury suffered Thursday against Edmonton.
Stat Pack --
This will be just the 10th time these teams ever have met, with the Flyers holding a 6-2-0 record, with one tie. The Flyers have won the last four games they've played, with three of them coming by 3-1 margins. The other game was a 3-2 Flyers win. Minnesota hasn't beaten the Flyers since Feb. 12, 2003. The Flyers never have lost at Xcel Energy Center.
Puck Drop --
This game illustrates the differences between the Eastern and Western conferences. The Flyers have 59 points and are seventh in the East. The Wild have 60 points and are 12th in the West, six points out of a playoff spot.

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