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Coyotes-Flyers Preview

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Philadelphia has been getting by without one of its top players, though that disadvantage could be coming to an end. Arizona is simply becoming disadvantaged.

The Coyotes visit Philadelphia on Saturday hoping to avoid extending two significant losing streaks, while the Flyers could have points leader Claude Giroux back in the lineup.

Philadelphia (27-22-11) has been without Giroux for the past three games with an upper-body injury, and though he returned to practice Friday, his coach wouldn't yet commit to him playing.

"We want to have him back as soon as possible, but we want to have him back when he's ready to go," coach Dave Hakstol told the team's official website.

What is certain is the Flyers will be without Jakub Voracek, who has played 286 straight games, after the forward suffered a lower-body injury in Thursday's 3-2 win over Minnesota.

It kicked off an extremely manageable six-game homestand on which the Wild and Coyotes are followed by Calgary, Edmonton, Columbus and Tampa Bay - the last being the only team in the top half of their respective division.

The Flyers have also come around offensively, scoring 17 goals over a 3-1-1 span after being held to a goal in three of their previous four.

They've also had something of a goaltending shift to Michal Neuvirth, who made two stellar saves late against the Wild, including a highlight-reel stop with 1.6 seconds remaining.

Hakstol hasn't announced a starter, but Neuvirth replaced typical starter Steve Mason in a 5-4 win in Toronto last Saturday and has played ever since. Mason is 1-3-0 with a 2.82 goals-against average and .908 save percentage in his last five with a season GAA 0.50 higher than his backup.

"It's part of the body of work," Hakstol said of the clutch save. "There's no question. Neuvy's body of work (Thursday) was good; it was solid. His first save of the game is just as important as the last save."

The clubs split two games a season ago, and those came with Sam Gagner on the other bench. Gagner, who has scored in two of his last three games for the Flyers, has been limited to four goals and five assists in 31 games since being traded.

"I feel like in the opportunity I got the last little while, I've stepped up to the plate and played well," Gagner said. "But at the same time, you realize that changes are going to be made with guys coming back in the lineup. I think wherever I am, I've just got to do my best to help the team win hockey games."

That'd be more difficult back on the other side. Arizona (27-28-6) has lost its last four overall and six straight on the road, all in regulation. Thursday's 3-2 loss in Florida set the Coyotes up to match a season-long overall skid and set a new season mark on the road as they hit the fourth stop on a five-game trip.

"We can't find a way to get on top of it," said coach Dave Tippett, whose team has gone eight straight without scoring more than two road goals. "We had a couple chances late to get it tied and get a point and we couldn't get it done. The frustration continues to build."

It's also mounting for Louis Domingue, who will start his 10th straight game as part of a 3-8-1 span with a 3.49 GAA and .891 save percentage.

In front of him is defenseman Nicklas Grossmann, who was traded for Gagner in June.

"They're a good team (and) they're heating up lately and playing well," Grossmann told the Coyotes' official website. "(They have) a lot of skill up front and a lot speed, so it will definitely be a good test for us."