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Flyers visit Penguins, Blues face Avs in doubleheader on TSN2

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The Sports Network
2/20/2013 11:43:56 AM
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(Sports Network) - The Philadelphia Flyers got a huge lift from their captain last time out. They hope that Claude Giroux can will them to a much-needed split of their six-game road trip on Wednesday with a victory over the rival Pittsburgh Penguins.

The action gets underway from Pittsburgh at 7:30pm et/4:30pm pt. on TSN2. Both games also available on TSN Mobile TV

The Flyers lost for the third time in the first four games of their swing on Saturday with a lackluster 4-1 setback in Montreal. Afterwards, Giroux, who is in his first season as captain, called out himself and his teammates, then led the charge on Monday afternoon in a 7-0 thumping of the New York Islanders.

Giroux scored just 26 seconds into the game, assisted on Matt Read's tally 15 seconds into the second period and added another score to cap a three-goal second frame. He had gone seven straight games without a goal, but teamed with Read and Jakub Voracek to form a line that combined for 10 points.

"I think everybody took it personally obviously. And that was the goal," Flyers forward Danny Briere, who scored twice, said of Giroux's words from the previous game. "But once again it's the way he takes care of it himself to start the game. We have no other choice but to follow suit. It's huge leadership on his part."

Read had two assists, Voracek set a career high with four assists and Ilya Bryzgalov made 19 saves for his 30th career shutout in his 400th NHL game.

The effort moved the Flyers to 3-8-0 on the road this season.

"It was a complete game today for 60 minutes," Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette said. "It started in the first shift and ended when the horn sounded 60 minutes later. Real complete game. All three zones."

Laviolette's club will need a similar effort again on Wednesday against the rival Penguins, who come in having won three straight and eight of their last 10.

Pittsburgh plays the first of three in a row as the host on Wednesday after picking up road wins in Winnipeg and Buffalo. The Pens are 8-2-0 as the guest this season, but just 3-3-0 at home.

Pittsburgh got goals from Pascal Dupuis and Sidney Crosby just 1:27 into their game with the Sabres on Sunday, scoring on its first two shots. However, Buffalo rallied back to take a one-goal lead before Dupuis' second goal of the game tied things up at 7:06 of the third.

That set up Paul Martin's heroics as he notched the game-winner with 2:04 to play off assists from Dupuis and Crosby.

"I came in off the bench for a change and I think (Crosby) was trying to pass (the puck)," Martin said. "It kind of found its way toward me. I just put it to the net and it went in."

Marc-Andre Fleury made 30 saves and Crosby had two assists in addition to his goal, giving him 24 points on the season and seven on his past three games.

The Penguins also recorded a power-play goal for an eighth consecutive game and have gone 35.5 percent (11-for-31) with the man advantage over that span

Wednesday is the second meeting of the season between the Flyers and Penguins, with Pittsburgh opening the shortened campaign with a 3-1 win at Philadelphia on Jan. 19.

That was the first encounter between the clubs since a wild six-game series in last season's Eastern Conference quarterfinals, a set that featured a combined 56 goals and plenty of rough stuff before the Flyers emerged as the victors.

Philadelphia had won five straight in Pittsburgh during the regular season before suffering a loss in its last trip there on April 7 and the Pens will try to win two in a row at home in this series during the regular season for the first time since the Consol Energy Center opened in 2010.

St. Louis Blues at Colorado Avalanche

(Sports Network) - St. Louis Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock ripped his team's effort Tuesday night following the club's fifth straight setback at home. The Blues will get a chance to rebound on the road Wednesday evening before the start of their next homestand as they try to pick up their first victory in Colorado over the Avalanche in almost four years.

St. Louis had one of the best home records in 2011-12, going 30-6-5 en route to capturing the Central Division crown. However, a 2-1 setback to San Jose dropped the Blues to 3-4-1 as the hosting team this season compared to a 6-2-0 mark on the road.

Coming off a perfect three-game road trip, the Blues were limited to just a first-period goal from Patrik Berglund as they failed to secure their first win in St. Louis since Jan. 27.

A frustrated Hitchcock wasted no time calling out his team, which begins a three-game homestand on Saturday.

"This is a common thing we've been doing these past four or five games at home. It's the same stuff," said Hitchcock. "There's too many passengers, too many people who aren't pulling their weight. Too much skill ahead of work -- same guys. Night in and night out at home. We don't do it on the road, but we do it at home.

"And we're not good enough, we're not skilled enough to play that way, but that's what happened. So when you put skill ahead of work, maybe you get away with it a little bit, but when you do it constantly, too many guys want the game to be a little bit easier. That's the difference."

Berglund's team-leading ninth goal of the season extended his goal-scoring streak to a career-high four games in a row, while rookie Jake Allen lost for the first time in four starts despite 23 saves.

Allen had won his first three NHL starts while filling in with Jaroslav Halak hurt and Brian Elliott struggling.

Halak is expected to make his first start in this game since suffering a groin injury on Feb. 1 and is 3-0-0 in five starts this season with a 2.10 goals against average, .889 save percentage and two shutouts.

The 27-year-old is 2-2-1 lifetime versus the Avs with a 2.97 GAA and .909 save percentage. He'll try to snap the Blues' six-game skid in Colorado, where they haven't won since April 12, 2009.

The Avalanche have won nine of the previous 12 meetings overall and look to extend their offensive burst after matching a season high in goals scored with Monday's 6-5 victory over Nashville.

The two teams combined for seven goals in the second frame, one that Matt Duchene opened with a controversial goal just 3:18 in. The winger took a pass and looked to be offsides, but no whistle was blown and he put home his sixth goal of the season to give his club a two-goal lead.

"I was 100 percent offsides," Duchene admitted. "But I think the ruling was that Nashville brought the puck back in. ... The puck was besides me and I thought 'I'll just touch it and get a whistle here and get a faceoff at the line.'. They didn't blow the whistle so the goalie just stood up and I was able to catch him quick there."

The goal loomed even larger when Nashville pulled within a goal with 1:18 to play before Colorado held on.

Duchene and Aaron Palushaj both registered a goal and two assists for the Avalanche, who had lost four of their previous five and snapped a nine-game losing streak to the Predators. Duchene matched a career high by extending his goal-scoring streak to four straight games while notching consecutive three- point games for the first time in his career.

"It was nice, anytime you can get the offense going is good," said Palushaj, who has scored twice in four contests since joining Colorado as a waiver claim from Montreal on Feb. 5. "Obviously you don't want to give up five against, but we had six. We're going to continue to work offensively, score goals and tighten up defensively a bit."

Paul Stastny added a goal and an assist, while Jamie McGinn and Chuck Kobasew also found the back of the net. Tyson Barrie scored his first NHL goal for an Avs club that has netted 13 goals in its past three games.

Semyon Varlamov made 33 saves in the victory and is slated to start this contest. He is 3-0-1 lifetime versus the Blues in four starts with a 1.93 GAA and .947 save percentage.

Claude Giroux Sidney Crosby (Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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