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National Hockey League

NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, February 6th (All times Eastern)

Colorado Avalanche (36-15-5) at Philadelphia Flyers (28-23-6), 7 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Philadelphia Flyers will play their final two games before the NHL's Olympic break on home ice and Craig Berube's club will try to earn a third straight victory in Thursday's battle against the Colorado Avalanche.

The Flyers, winners in three of their last four games, recently went 2-1-0 on a three-game road trip in California. They lost the opener in Anaheim by a 5-3 score before recording consecutive victories in Los Angeles and San Jose.

Philadelphia trailed the Sharks by a 2-1 score heading into third period of Monday's game in San Jose, but rallied for a thrilling 5-2 win. It was the Flyers' first win against the Sharks in over 13 years.

Matt Read, Michael Raffl and Claude Giroux all scored in the first four minutes of the third period to help the Flyers mount the comeback. Jakub Voracek provided a score late in the final stanza to account for the final margin.

Coming into the game, the Flyers hadn't won in San Jose since Nov. 5, 1999 and had gone 0-8-3 with a pair of ties in the overall series since a 4-3 victory at home on Dec. 21, 2000.

Mark Streit also scored a first-period tally for the Flyers, while Steve Mason stopped 20 shots to pick up the win.

"Just the way we played tonight I think we deserved that win," said Giroux. "We were playing well and getting our chances and I think our defense played really well tonight."

Giroux has five goals and six assists over his last seven games. The Flyers captain is now tied with Wayne Simmonds for the team lead in goals with 18 despite going his first 15 games of the season without a marker.

Philadelphia enters Thursday with 62 points, tying it with the Detroit Red Wings for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. The Red Wings currently hold the tiebreaker due to holding a game in hand over the Flyers. Philly also is tied with Columbus for third place in the Metropolitan Division.

The Flyers, who will host Calgary on Saturday before entering the Olympic break, are 14-10-1 this season on home ice.

Thursday's clash at Wells Fargo Center is the second and final meeting between the Flyers and Avalanche this season. The clubs met on Jan. 2 in Colorado and the Avalanche picked up a 2-1 regulation triumph to give them wins in two straight, three of four and eight of the last 10 meetings.

Although Philadelphia has lost six straight in Denver, the Flyers have won the past two matchups in the City of Brotherly Love.

The Avalanche, who are currently in third place in the Central Division and ranked fifth in the Western Conference, had a four-game winning streak halted with Tuesday's lopsided road loss against the New York Rangers.

Colorado fell 5-1 to the Rangers, suffering their first loss of more than three goals since a 7-2 setback in Chicago on Dec. 27.

The Avs fell behind 2-0 in the first period and were able to cut the deficit to a goal after Gabriel Landeskog's power-play tally at 6:37 of the second. However, Anton Stralman scored just 53 seconds later for New York to restore the two-goal cushion.

"Some nights the puck doesn't bounce your way. That's the way it was tonight," said Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy.

Semyon Varlamov finished with 38 saves in a losing effort, while Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon, who had an assist, both extended their point streaks. Landeskog has three goals and six assists during a seven-game run, while the rookie MacKinnon has three goals and six helpers over the last six games.

Colorado was dealt only its second loss in its last eight road tests and fell to 17-8-2 as the guest this season.

Tonight's game will mark former Flyers forward Max Talbot's first game in Philly since he was traded for Steve Downie on Oct. 31. Talbot and Downie both failed to register a point against their former teams in the meeting last month in Colorado.

Talbot has five goals and 17 points in 45 games with the Avs since the trade. Downie has 14 points (2 goals, 12 assists) in 37 games this season during his second stint with the Flyers.

02/06 11:02:21 ET