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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, January 4th (All times Eastern)
Philadelphia Flyers (20-17-4) at Phoenix Coyotes (20-11-9), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Philadelphia Flyers aim to rebound from the first loss of their extended road trip on Saturday night as they visit the Phoenix Coyotes.
The Flyers had pushed their overall winning streak to four straight games by taking the first three of a six-game trek before falling in defeat to the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday.
Wayne Simmonds had a goal and Steve Mason made 29 saves in the 2-1 setback. It marked the first time in nine games the Flyers failed to score at least three goals.
Mason had a five-game win streak halted as the Flyers fell to 7-2-1 in their last 10.
"We could have done some better things as a team, but I thought we played pretty decent," said Simmonds, who has eight goals and four assists over his last eight games.
Playing without Matt Read due to an upper-body injury, Philadelphia lost fellow forward Michael Raffl during the first period with a concussion.
The Flyers wrap their road trip on Tuesday versus New Jersey, while the Coyotes have split the first two of a six-game homestand after getting blanked 2-0 by the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday.
Mike Smith allowed both power-play goals on 31 shots for the Coyotes, who had a six-game point streak halted (2-0-4). The loss marked the first time in seven games that Phoenix did not play past regulation.
"It was one of those games that was all about execution and we didn't execute like we needed to," Smith admitted after his club's first shutout loss of the season. "It cost us the game."
The game may have also cost Phoenix scoring defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who suffered an upper-body injury in the first period after he was hit from behind and into the glass by the Blue Jackets' Derek MacKenzie.
Ekman-Larsson is day-to-day, but Phoenix could get captain Shane Doan back in the lineup tonight. The forward has been cleared by doctors to play for the first time since Dec. 4 due to a bout of Rocky Mountain Fever.
Doan has 12 goals and 11 assists in 27 games this season.
Phoenix has won five of its past seven at home versus the Flyers and also notched a 2-1 win at Philadelphia back on Oct. 11. Ekman-Larsson had a go- ahead power-play goal in the second period, while Phoenix backup goaltender Thomas Greiss made 36 saves.
Smith could face the Flyers tonight and is 4-6-1 versus them with a 3.77 goals against average in 12 games (10 starts).
Mason was solid with 29 stops, but fell to 3-7-0 with a 3.13 GAA in 10 career starts versus the Coyotes.
01/04 10:54:11 ET
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