March 03, 2015

The Philadelphia Flyers are perfect so far on their longest homestand of the season, and that's not likely to change over the next two games.

The Flyers look to make it three wins in a row Monday night when they try to capitalize on the struggling Calgary Flames.

Philadelphia (28-22-11) is three points back of Pittsburgh for the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, and it's opened its six-game homestand with consecutive wins after beating Arizona 4-2 on Saturday.

"We have a lot of work in front of us," coach Dave Hakstol said.

Philadelphia, though, is in position to take advantage of a favorable schedule. After facing Calgary (26-31-4), the Flyers meet Edmonton on Thursday, giving them consecutive games against the two teams with the fewest road points in the NHL. Those are followed by a visit from last-place Columbus.

The Flames, 9-17-3 as the visitor, have also dropped seven of their last eight games overall after falling 6-4 to Ottawa at home Saturday.

Philadelphia, though, has lost three straight to Calgary after falling 2-1 in overtime Nov. 5.

Michael Raffl got his first goal of the season in that matchup, but he's only managed seven more after netting 21 last season. That didn't stop the Flyers from signing him to a three-year, $7.05 million contract extension Sunday, ending any chance he'd be traded prior to Monday's trade deadline.

The Flames traded elite shot-blocker Kris Russell to Dallas prior to the deadline for defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka, forward prospect Brett Pollock and a conditional 2016 second-round pick. Jokipakka is 24 years old and has 91 games of NHL experience.

Claude Giroux assisted on Raffl's tally at Calgary, giving him six points in the past six meetings. The captain scored Saturday after sitting out three games with an upper-body injury.

"To be back on the ice and battle with your teammates (and) to get a win, there's nothing better than that," said Giroux, who became the 14th Flyer to reach 500 points. "It's a good honor to be able to get that many points. It's obviously fun, but the win feels a lot better."

Michal Neuvirth has seemingly taken over the starting goaltender job from Steve Mason with his strong play of late. Neuvirth has allowed four goals on 57 shots over back-to-back wins and is 8-2-2 with a 1.94 goals-against average and two shutouts in 12 home games.

Mason has a 2.82 GAA while losing three of four decisions over his last five starts.

Neuvirth got the nod at Calgary in November and made 28 saves before Mikael Backlund beat him 35 seconds into OT.

The Flames are trying to avoid their first five-game slide since dropping eight straight from Dec. 6-20, 2014. Coach Bob Hartley held an impromptu meeting following Saturday's loss, a performance that prompted one fan to throw his jersey on the ice.

"It's sad to see something like that, but we can't control their actions and as a team we need to be better," left wing Johnny Gaudreau said.

Gaudreau is among the few bright spots for the Flames. With two goals against the Senators, he's matched his total of 24 from his rookie season with 21 games left to play.

He has 11 points during a seven-game streak overall and five in three career meetings with Philadelphia.

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