NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, March 22nd (All times Eastern)
St. Louis Blues (47-15-7) at Philadelphia Flyers (37-25-7), 1 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Philadelphia Flyers will put their recent hot streak to the test on Saturday afternoon when they play host to the NHL-leading St. Louis Blues.
The Flyers have won their past four games, besting some of the top teams in the NHL over that time. They began the win streak with a home-and-home sweep of the Metropolitan Division-leading Pittsburgh Penguins and topped the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks in overtime before knocking off the Dallas Stars 4-2 on Thursday.
Still, the Flyers come into Saturday just one point ahead of the New York Rangers for second place in the Metro Division. The Flyers do hold two games in hand over the Rangers, who visit the New Jersey Devils on Saturday.
Wayne Simmonds netted a pair of goals against the Stars, one on the power play, and Steve Mason came through with 33 saves in Philadelphia's seventh victory in nine games.
Simmonds has scored 13 of his 23 goals this season on the power play, while Claude Giroux had an assist to give the Flyers captain 15 points over his last nine games.
The Flyers are looking to win five straight for the first time since March 1-10, 2012, but coach Craig Berube still wants to see improvement from his team.
"Well I thought tonight wasn't as good, for sure. We were sloppy tonight at times," Berube said after Thursday's win. "But overall our team's competing hard and working hard and playing like a team, and that's what you've got to do."
Berube knows his team will need to work hard today against the Blues, who are tied with Boston for the NHL lead with 101 points, giving them a four-point edge over the Blackhawks for first place in the Central Division.
Ryan Miller has helped key St. Louis' latest run, but is coming off his first regulation setback since being acquired from the Buffalo Sabres. He yielded four goals on 27 shots before getting pulled following nearly 48 minutes of action in a 4-0 setback to the Blackhawks on Wednesday.
Brian Elliott stopped all three shots he faced in relief for the Blues, who had won three straight and lost for the first time in their last 10 games in regulation (8-0-1). They also suffered their first 60-minute defeat to a fellow Central Division team this season (20-1-2).
"They're the Stanley Cup champions for a reason," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "They know when to turn the temperature up. It's our responsibility, no matter what happens in the regular season, if you're going to give them a go, you're going to have to dial it up. They're getting ready. And it's up to us to get ready. That's the task."
After taking the loss in the opener of a four-game road trip, Miller will get a chance to rebound today. He is 7-1-1 with a 1.92 goals against average and .923 save percentage with the Blues and 13-12-2 in his career versus the Flyers with a 3.10 GAA.
The Blues have won three of their last four versus the Flyers and in the most recent meeting on Oct. 22, 2011, they recorded a 4-2 victory for just their second win in the last eight encounters in Philadelphia.
Mason is 5-6-2 with a 2.82 GAA in his career when facing the Blues.
03/22 10:30:03 ET