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Flyers-Avalanche Preview

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:46 AM

Associated Press

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Philadelphia Flyers vs. Colorado Avalanche
Pregame Multimedia
Stevens speaks


OTF: Lupul in the middle

Game Notes
Tonight is the fourth game of the year and second game in the Flyers three-game road trip as they take on the Colorado Avalanche... The two teams will also meet at the Wachovia Center on Dec. 16… Last season, the Flyers were edged by the Avalanche, 2-1, in Colorado with Danny Briere scoring the lone goal for the Flyers… Martin Biron has a 5-3-0-0 lifetime record against Colorado, with a 2.48 goals-against average... Philadelphia has a record of 0-2-1 for one point through its first three games of the season (5th in the Atlantic Division and 15th in the Eastern Conference)... The Flyers earned their first point of the season after dropping a 3-2 overtime decision to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday...Antero Niittymaki is 0-0-1 and ranks fifth in the NHL with a 1.67 goals-against average. Tonight's game against the Avalanche will be Comcast SportsNet's first regular season Flyers road game broadcast in HD. This season all Flyers home and away games broadcast on Comcast SportsNet will be broadcast in high definition.
Martin Biron stops Colorado's Milan Hejduk in front of the net during last year's Flyers-Avalanche game. (Getty Images)

Lifetime series vs. Colorado
This is the first of two meetings with Colorado on the year... The Flyers lead the all-time series with a 33-21-14-3 record in 71 games, including an 11-12-12-1 record on the road.

Last Meeting
December 7, 2007: Colorado 2, FLYERS 1 at Pepsi Center: Scoreless first and third periods surrounded a second period in which the Avalanche outscored the Flyers, 2-1, en route to a 2-1 victory. Danny Briere scored the only goal for the Flyers. Goaltender Martin Biron allowed two goals on 32 shots faced to record the loss. Avalanche goaltender Jose Theodore stopped 28 of 29 shots faced to record the win. Stars of the Game: 1st - Jose Theodore; 2nd - Jaroslav Hlinka; 3rd - Milan Hejduk.

Derian Hatcher (D): Out Indefinitely
Ryan Parent (D): Out Indefinitely
Randy Jones (D): Out Indefinitely

October 13 - Flyers acquired defenseman Andrew Alberts from Boston in exchange for forward Ned Lukacevic and a conditional pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

Goals For/Goals Against
The Flyers have scored eight goals this season averaging 2.66 goals per game... They have allowed 11 goals in three games this season (3.89 GAA).

Special Teams

Power Play - Philadelphia has scored two goals on 19 power-play attempts (10.5%)... They have gone 2-for-13 (15.4%) at home and 0-for-6 in one road game thus far... Penalty Kill - The Flyers successfully killed 14 of 16 power plays against this season (87.5%, tied for 10th in the NHL), including nine of 10 attempts at home (90%) and five of six attempts on the road (83.3%)... The Flyers have one shorthanded goal this season (Scott Hartnell vs. NY Rangers, 10/11/08).

The Philadelphia Flyers and Colorado Avalanche each feel they've played well so far this season, but neither has a victory to show for it.

That will change for one of these clubs when the two meet on Thursday night at the Pepsi Center.

A pair of playoff teams a year ago, the early days of the season haven't been fruitful for two clubs expecting to build of their 2007-08 success.

Philadelphia (0-2-1) bounced back from a disappointing 56-point effort in 2006-07, by posting 95 and reaching the Eastern Conference finals last season. Carrying over that success has stalled, as the Flyers opened with three straight losses for the first time since the labor dispute-shortened 1995 season.

"That's not the place we want to be, that's not the start we want," said Simon Gagne, who has three of Philadelphia's eight goals. "It's not like we played bad three games in a row. But it's a rough league now, and those two points are hard to get."

In earning their first point of the season, Gagne and Jeff Carter scored in the Flyers' 3-2 overtime loss at Pittsburgh on Tuesday. Philadelphia has dropped its three games by a total of four goals.

"It's still only one point," said Flyers captain Mike Richards, who has two goals and one assist through three games. "Good teams find a way to win. We're still looking for two points."

One immediate problem the Flyers must solve is on the power play, where they are 2-for-19.

Antero Niittymaki made 25 saves in his first start on Tuesday after Martin Biron allowed eight goals on 40 shots over the first two games. Biron, though, is 5-3-0 with a 2.49 goals-against average against Colorado.

The Avalanche (0-3-0) - one of two NHL teams without point - have lost each contest by one goal.

Ryan Smyth had a goal and an assist, while Paul Stastny added two assists as Colorado fell 5-4 at Calgary on Thursday. Smyth has 10 points in 15 games and an assist in four straight versus the Flyers.

"We can't push the panic button or get discouraged," Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said. "In our first two games, we clearly outplayed the teams, and (Tuesday) it seemed like it was going back and forth and both teams were making mistakes and both teams had the heat on them to get this win and we made the last mistake and they were able to capitalize on it."

While Philadelphia is struggling to score on the power play, Colorado is having problems stopping opponents, who are 5-for-12 with the man-advantage through three contests.

After Peter Budaj allowed 13 goals in three games, Andrew Raycroft is expected to make his Colorado debut in this contest. Raycroft signed with the Avalanche as a free agent after spending the last two seasons with Toronto. He is 5-4-0 with a tie and a 2.33 GAA against Philadelphia in his career.

"We want to give him one game a week," Granato told the team's official Web site. "He's coming off a season two years ago where he played a lot of hockey; last year he didn't play a lot of hockey. We want to get him some rhythm."

Colorado has won four in a row against Philadelphia, while each of the last six contests between the clubs have been decided by one goal. Four of the last five have gone to overtime.

2008-2009 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Dec 16 '08 COL 2 at PHI 5 J. Lupul
Oct 16 '08 PHI 2 at COL 5 M. Hejduk
S. Gagne4404+1410
M. Richards4314-2920
D. Briere4044-1200
J. Carter4202-2000
S. Upshall4022-1000
K. Timonen4022-2400
S. Hartnell4101-2200
B. Coburn4011+11200
G. Metropolit4011+0200
M. Knuble4011-1400
O. Vaananen4011-1800
S. Eminger4011-3400
A. Asham4000-1000
R. Cote4000-11000
J. Lupul4000-3700
L. Sbisa4000-3600
S. Downie3000-2500
L. Kukkonen2000-1000
A. Alberts2000-2400
J. Ross1000-1200
M. Biron30-3-013745.74.824
A. Niittymaki20-0-13411.67.927
P. Stastny4156+0410
J. Sakic4156-1000
M. Hejduk4314+1021
J. Liles4123+1010
R. Smyth4123-1210
W. Wolski4123-1400
C. McLeod4202+2500
J. Leopold4112-1200
M. Svatos3112+0210
C. McCormick2112+2700
R. Salei4022+0400
B. Clark4101+1200
B. Guite3101+0200
S. Hannan4011+1000
I. Laperriere4011+01100
D. Tucker4011-1400
D. Jones4011-2000
T. Arnason4000+1200
A. Foote4000-2200
A. Raycroft11-0-02182.00.889
P. Budaj30-3-013744.38.824
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