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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, January 31st (All times eastern)

Philadelphia Flyers (25-11-11-5) at Pittsburgh Penguins (11-33-5-3), 1 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Philadelphia Flyers try to push their unbeaten streak to five games today when they visit the lowly Pittsburgh Penguins at the Igloo.

Philly is 3-0-1 during its spurt, and 5-1-1 in the last seven overall. On Wednesday, Roberto Luongo's 44 saves helped the Florida Panthers to a 3-3 tie with the Flyers at the Office Depot Center.

Luongo made six saves in the overtime alone, including a game-preserving glove save on Philadelphia's Mark Recchi. Philadelphia got all three of its goals from defensemen, as Joni Pitkanen scored twice and Eric Weinrich added a tally.

Robert Esche turned aside 22 shots for the Flyers. Esche, who is being given a golden chance to prove himself, has started the last seven games with veteran Jeff Hackett sidelined due to vertigo.

The Flyers lead New Jersey by three points in the Atlantic Division. Philly will host Tampa Bay on Monday.

Pittsburgh, meanwhile, has lost eight consecutive games. On Thursday, Brad Richards tallied a goal and an assist to key a three-goal first period, as the Tampa Bay Lightning notched a 5-1 pounding of the Penguins.

The Tampa Bay victory was the second in three days over Pittsburgh, as the Lightning downed the Penguins 6-2 in the first of a home-and-home set on Tuesday.

Ryan Malone scored the only goal for Pittsburgh, which continues to sport the worst record in the NHL. Jean-Sebastien Aubin allowed five goals on 32 shots in the losing effort.

Earlier Thursday, the Penguins announced that goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, the first overall pick in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, would leave the club and return to Cape Breton of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The move allows the Penguins to avoid paying a $3 million bonus to Fleury, who was nearing the stipulations in his contract that would have given him the extra money. The 19-year-old went to Cape Breton on Friday.

Aubin and Sabastien Caron, who was recalled from Wilkes Barre-Scranton, are now the Penguin netminders on the roster.

Pittsburgh will visit Boston on Sunday.

The Penguins snapped a seven-game series winless streak (0-5-2) with a 2-1 win in Philly on January 12.

01/31 10:06:16 ET


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