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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, January 2nd (All times Eastern)
Philadelphia Flyers (20-16-4) at Colorado Avalanche (24-11-4), 9 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Philadelphia Flyers will try to extend their longest winning streak of the season and claim their first victory in Colorado in over 11 years as they visit the Avalanche on Thursday night.
The Flyers have picked up a victory in four straight, winning the first three of a six-game road trip. Philadelphia began the trek with consecutive 4-3 shootout wins over Edmonton and Vancouver before rolling past the Calgary Flames 4-1 on Tuesday.
Brayden Schenn had a goal and two assists, while Braydon Coburn, Scott Hartnell and Mark Streit all scored. Ray Emery made 23 saves to improve the Flyers to 7-1-1 in their past nine games.
"We've had some big efforts so far to start this trip," said Emery, whose club will visit Phoenix and New Jersey to conclude the swing. "These last two wins are a great way to end the year off."
Though captain Claude Giroux had a nine-game point streak (6 goals, 11 assists) end in Tuesday's win, forward Wayne Simmonds notched a pair of assists to give him seven goals and 11 points over his last seven games.
The Flyers lost forward Matt Read to an upper-body injury during the win over the Flames. He is day-to-day, but could play tonight.
Steve Mason is the likely starter for Philadelphia and he has struggled in his career versus the Avalanche, going 4-6-2 with a 3.27 goals against average in 12 starts.
Mason will try to lead the Flyers to their first victory in Colorado since Dec. 27, 2002. Philadelphia has lost five straight as the guest since, including a 3-2 shootout loss in the most recent meeting in Denver on Dec. 19, 2011.
The Avs, who visit Philadelphia on Feb. 6, have won seven of their last nine against the Flyers and snapped a four-game slide (0-1-3) overall with Tuesday's 5-3 triumph over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon had third-period goals, while Jan Hejda, Jamie McGinn and Ryan O'Reilly added scores. Matt Duchene had two assists and Semyon Varlamov made 35 saves.
"Tonight we had our chances and it sure worked. Our coaching staff had us moving the puck quicker. We had the lanes tonight and were open in front of then net and kept it simple and cashed in," said O'Reilly.
Colorado, which began the season 12-1-0, is aiming to win two straight for the first time since Nov. 29-30 and plays the third contest of a seven-game homestand tonight.
Duchene has 15 points over his last 10 games, while Varlamov is 0-0-1 with a 4.79 GAA in two career meetings with the Flyers, including one start.
Avs forward Paul Stastny, fourth on the club with 25 points this season, was named to the U.S. Olympic team on Wednesday.
01/02 10:38:05 ET