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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, November 9th (All times Eastern)
Edmonton Oilers (4-11-2) at Philadelphia Flyers (4-10-1), 1 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of teams near the bottom of the NHL standings will meet Saturday afternoon in the City of Brotherly Love when the Philadelphia Flyers welcome the Edmonton Oilers to the Wells Fargo Center.
Philadelphia is ranked 29th out of 30 NHL teams with just nine points this season on a 4-10-1 record. Edmonton has 10 points, but, at 4-11-2, the Oilers have played two more games than the Flyers.
This is Edmonton's first game in Philadelphia in over two years. The Oilers last visited the Wells Fargo Center on March 8, 2011 and dropped a 4-1 decision to halt a four-game road winning streak in this series. Edmonton is 7-1-0 with a tie in the past nine overall meetings against the Flyers.
While in Philadelphia, Edmonton announced the signing of former Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, whose tumultuous tenure in the City of Brotherly Love ended this summer with a massive buyout.
Bryzgalov, who has yet to play this season in the NHL, agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the Oilers on Friday. According to reports, the 33-year-old Russian will spend time with the Oilers' AHL affiliate in Oklahoma City for conditioning before joining the big club.
Bryzgalov joined the Flyers in the summer of 2011, signing an 8-year, $51 million deal. However, perceptions of inconsistent play along with off-ice and locker-room behavior issues contributed to the buyout -- one which saved the current basement dwellers in the Metropolitan Division an estimated $6 million on the salary cap for the remaining six years of the deal.
"We get a goaltender that has a history of being a high performer in parts of his career, and we get a guy that's very motivated and he's going to have a chance to be a good goalie," said Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish.
Edmonton starting goaltender Devan Dubnyk has struggled to a 3-6-1 record, 3.80 GAA and .878 save percentage this season. Backups Richard Bachman and Jason LaBarbera have combined to go 1-5-1 in their nine appearances.
The Flyers enter Saturday having lost two straight and four of their last five games. Philadelphia has scored a total of four goals over that five-game stretch and is dead last in the NHL with an average of 1.47 goals per game this season.
Philadelphia's most recent setback, a 3-0 home loss Thursday night against the New Jersey Devils, prompted a players-only meeting to be called by team captain Claude Giroux, who is still without a goal in 15 games this season.
"Well, we're definitely frustrated, but the bright side is we have a good group," said Flyers goaltender Ray Emery after Thursday's loss. "We have a lot of guys who really enjoy playing together."
Emery was outdueled Thursday by Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, who posted a 22-save shutout against the punchless Flyers. Adam Henrique, Cam Janssen and former Philadelphia forward Jaromir Jagr each scored a goal for New Jersey.
The Devils had been shut out in their previous two games, including a 1-0 defeat to the Flyers last Saturday. Emery, who had blanked the Devils on Saturday, stopped 22 shots for the Flyers in Thursday's setback.
Philadelphia went 0-for-3 on the power play against the Devils and has scored just once on 17 chances with the man advantage over the last four games. The Flyers are ranked 27th in the league with a 10-percent success rate on the power play this season.
"On a consistent, nightly basis you have to outwork the penalty killing of the other team and you have to create momentum for your team, and they did not do that tonight," said Flyers head coach Craig Berube.
Edmonton enters Saturday as the bottom team in the Western Conference standings and has dropped six of its last seven games.
The Oilers, who are making the third stop on a four-game road trip this afternoon, last played on Thursday in Tampa and lost a 4-2 decision to the Lightning. Steven Stamkos victimized Edmonton for two goals, as the Oilers fell to 3-6-2 as the visiting team this season.
"We made three mistakes tonight and two of them went to the wrong player," Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins said, referring to Stamkos.
Edmonton did manage to fire 40 shots on net Thursday, but Ben Bishop turned aside 38 of those attempts to frustrate the Oilers offense time and again.
"It's one of those nights where I loved the way we played. We played with passion," Eakins added.
Taylor Hall returned from a knee injury to register one of Edmonton's two tallies, with Taylor Fedun accounting for the other. Dubnyk stopped 22- of-25 shots in the loss.
The Oilers are set to close their four-game swing Sunday in Chicago.
11/09 10:31:22 ET
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