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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, December 23rd (All times eastern)

Philadelphia Flyers (20-8-5) at Pittsburgh Penguins (8-18-7), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Philadelphia Flyers open an 11-game road set tonight when they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins at Mellon Arena.

The Flyers enter the trek with momentum, as they have won two of their last three. On Thursday, Simon Gagne recorded a goal and an assist in his return to the lineup to lead Philadelphia to a 4-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators at the Wachovia Center.

Mike Knuble, Sami Kapanen and R.J. Umberger also scored for the Flyers, who welcomed back Gagne after he missed the last five games with a groin injury. Gagne's goal was his 24th of the season, which places him in a tie for the overall goal scoring lead in the NHL with Carolina's Eric Staal.

Antero Niittymaki made 25 saves for the Flyers, who have won four of their last six games. Peter Forsberg added a pair of assists in the victory.

Gagne and Forsberg, who have both been bitten by the injury bug this season, played together for the first time since November 25.

Philly, which is 7-3-2 on the road, will visit Florida on Monday.

The Pens, meanwhile, have lost four straight games. Last Saturday they dropped a 4-3 tilt in Buffalo. Jocelyn Thibault had 25 saves in the defeat, which was the Penguins' second game under new head coach Michel Therrien. He was given the job last Thursday after Ed Olczyk was relieved of his duties.

Mario Lemieux stayed in Pittsburgh for the contest after suffering a recurrence of his irregular heartbeat condition during last Friday's game versus the Sabres. Lemieux is sidelined indefinitely.

The Penguins, who are 4-8-4 on home ice, begin a four-game stand tonight and will host Toronto on Tuesday.

The Flyers are 2-1 against Pittsburgh this season and are 3-1-1 (1 loss, 1 tie) in the last five meetings.

Philly is 4-0-2 (2 ties) in its last six trips to the Steel City.

12/23 10:44:03 ET


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