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Slumping Flyers hope to continue home dominance of Red Wings
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Philadelphia Flyers were unbeatable at home for two months, but have seen their recent struggles begin to impact their play at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Flyers look to rebound on Tuesday night versus Detroit and avoid both a fifth straight setback overall and first loss at home to the Red Wings in over 14 years.
Philadelphia won 10 in a row at home during a span that began on Nov. 9 and ran through Jan. 8, ending three days later with a setback to Tampa Bay. That loss to the Lightning is part of a 1-3-1 slump at home that saw the Flyers get routed 6-1 by the visiting Boston Bruins on Saturday.
Steve Mason allowed four goals on 19 shots before getting lifted late in the second period. Ray Emery yielded a pair of goals on 14 shots in relief as Philadelphia matched a season high with a fourth loss in a row.
"It has to be the most embarrassing game I've been involved with," lamented Flyers captain Claude Giroux, who scored his club's lone goal. "We didn't win any battles. We didn't play as a team."
Philadelphia has matched the four-game skid it posted from Oct. 11-17 and has not lost five in a row since March 31-April 8, 2011.
However, the Flyers have won seven straight at home versus the Red Wings, who have not won in Philadelphia since Jan. 25, 1997.
These new conference rivals split two meetings earlier this season in Detroit and Philadelphia has won four of the past six encounters overall.
Detroit sits eighth overall in the Eastern Conference with 57 points, one ahead of Philadelphia and Columbus.
The Red Wings are 3-1-1 in their past five games, but were denied a third straight win as they dropped a 5-4 shootout decision to the Florida Panthers despite twice leading by two goals in the third frame.
Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheahan, Daniel Alfredsson and Gustav Nyquist scored for the Red Wings, while Jonas Gustavsson made 33 saves in suffering his first setback in six decisions.
"It's hard to really put a finger on it," Sheahan said when asked of why they lost. "It's kind of just break downs here and there."
Detroit got forward Johan Franzen back in the lineup for the first time in a month because of a concussion, but Henrik Zetterberg was a late scratch due a back injury. He missed 11 games in December with a back issue and is day-to- day, but did not travel to Philadelphia.
Forward Pavel Datsyuk missed his 10th straight game with a lower-body injury and center Joakim Andersson sat out his sixth in a row with a lower-body issue. However, Andersson could return tonight along with goaltender Jimmy Howard, who has been sidelined the last three games with a knee issue and was activated off injured reserve Monday.
Howard is 1-2-0 with a 3.78 goals against average in three career meetings with the Flyers, while Gustavsson is 0-2-1 with a 3.27 GAA in three encounters.
Mason has gone 9-10-2 with a 2.85 GAA in 21 lifetime matchups with the Red Wings and Emery is 3-1-0 against them with a 2.37 GAA.
Philadelphia could be without forward Scott Hartnell, who is battling a nagging foot injury and has 12 goals with 30 points in 49 games on the season.
01/28 11:56:17 ET