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game preview

Flyers begin difficult stretch against Blackhawks

Monday, 03.17.2014 / 4:09 PM

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com staff writer

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Flyers begin difficult stretch against Blackhawks
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Philadelphia Flyers

BLACKHAWKS (39-15-14) at FLYERS (35-25-7)

TV: TSN2, NBCSN, CSN-CH, CSN-PH

Last 10: Chicago 5-5-0; Philadelphia 7-2-1

Season series: It's the second and final time the Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers will play this season. On Dec. 11, former Flyer Patrick Sharp had a goal and two assists and the Blackhawks won 7-2 at United Center.

Big story: It was a productive weekend for the Flyers, but they'll have to put that behind them to focus on a difficult upcoming schedule.

Team Scope:

Blackhawks: The Blackhawks welcomed one forward back into the lineup in their win Sunday against the Detroit Red Wings when Marian Hossa scored a goal in his. However, Chicago lost another important forward in Brandon Saad, who did not make the trip to Philadelphia due to an upper-body injury.

Flyers: After their weekend sweep of a home-and-home set against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the schedule gets no easier for the Flyers, who will play the Blackhawks, Dallas Stars, St. Louis Blues and Los Angeles Kings in the next seven days.

In all, 12 of the Flyers' final 15 games are against teams that started the week holding a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

That kind of challenge could be what this Flyers group needs. They seem to raise their level of play to match the opposition, which is what was seen in beating the Penguins. Facing such difficult competition, while making for tougher games, could be better than facing teams below them in the standings.

"We don't want to finish eighth or seventh," Flyers captain Claude Giroux said after a 4-0 shutout win Saturday against the Penguins. "We want to finish higher. We want home-ice advantage. It's there for us to take but we have to keep playing like this."

Who's hot: Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews has goals in two straight games and five goals in the past five games. … Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds scored two power-play goals Sunday against the Pittsburgh Penguins, setting a new single-season high for him and moving him to third in the League with 12.

Injury report: Saad and goalie Nikolai Khabibulin (shoulder) are out for the Blackhawks. … The Flyers have no reported injuries.

Follow Adam Kimelman on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

2013-2014 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 18 '14 CHI 2 at PHI 3 - OT C. Giroux
Dec 11 '13 PHI 2 at CHI 7 M. Handzus
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
P. Kane68293968+722106
P. Sharp69293766+163682
J. Toews69273865+273054
M. Hossa59252954+281844
D. Keith6845054+242221
B. Saad68192544+292032
B. Seabrook6963137+301630
A. Shaw67171532+125342
K. Versteeg68102131-53011
N. Leddy6971926+13841
M. Kruger6962026+103401
N. Hjalmarsson6942125+143201
B. Smith6291221+6201
J. Oduya6731215+83401
B. Bollig697714+57101
M. Handzus494913+01002
B. Bickell5210212-72302
B. Pirri286511+6610
P. Regin51459-92000
M. Rozsival38167+43000
S. Brookbank36145+34501
J. Morin15145+23000
M. Kostka9213+3801
J. Nordstrom10112+2200
D. Rundblad13011-3600
B. Mills3000-1000
J. Hayes2000+1000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
C. Crawford4926-12-1010612892.26.918
A. Raanta2112-3-4495152.45.905
N. Khabibulin41-0-114745.00.811
K. Simpson10-0-0276.00.714
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
C. Giroux68244771+53275
W. Simmonds68212950-8102123
J. Voracek68183149+61072
S. Hartnell64182543+97073
B. Schenn68172037+15234
M. Read61191635-11403
S. Couturier68102434+23902
M. Streit6882331-73641
V. Lecavalier55151328-164473
K. Timonen6542327+73201
A. MacDonald6942125-203822
S. Downie5842024+310631
M. Raffl5581220+22203
A. Meszaros3851217+13400
B. Coburn6851015+15902
N. Grossmann6711213-95500
L. Schenn654711+15800
E. Gustafsson272810+9600
A. Hall66426-141900
T. McGinn8303+0400
Z. Rinaldo57112-1312401
M. Talbot11112+1200
J. Rosehill30101-68500
C. VandeVelde18011-3600
K. Newbury4011+0700
H. Gill4000-2200
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
S. Mason5228-16-612714822.57.914
R. Emery238-9-1565572.96.899