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Bruins Take on Flyers

With Antero Niittymaki playing well, the Philadelphia Flyers seem to have a goaltender controversy brewing. Meanwhile, whoever has been in net against the Boston Bruins in recent weeks has had a good chance of succeeding.

Coming home after a long road trip, the Flyers look to extend a three-game winning streak when they continue their season series with the struggling Bruins on Saturday.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Philadephia -167 money line favorites (NHL Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 5 goals (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 81% of bets for this game have been placed on Philadephia -167 View NHL Bet Percentages).

Philadelphia (22-15-4) is 6-1-1 after a four-game losing streak, winning five of those games during a six-game road trip. The Flyers completed the trip with a 6-2 win over the New York Rangers on Thursday night, getting three consecutive goals from Scott Hartnell while Niittymaki won his fourth straight start.

Niittymaki has made three straight starts in place of No. 1 goalie Martin Biron, who has been struggling. Niittymaki made 39 saves against the Rangers, and has stopped 120 of 125 shots in his last three games.

"It's not a big deal or anything," Niittymaki said. "We're starting to win some games, and whoever is playing next game hopefully we will win."

In Philadelphia's last meeting with Boston (21-18-4), Biron allowed three goals on 14 shots before being relieved by Niittymaki in a 6-3 loss on Nov. 26.

Boston, though, has struggled to find the back of the net in its last 13 games, averaging 2.15 goals en route to a 4-8-1 record in that span.

"We still have some players that have to be better," Bruins coach Claude Juline said after a 5-2 loss to Montreal on Thursday night. "That's the reality of things. Sometimes you rely on players to give you a little more, especially when you need it, and somehow we need to find that."

Boston did get some good news Thursday, with Aaron Ward scoring a goal after missing eight games with a broken foot. The veteran defenseman has three goals on the season, three shy of his career high set in 2005-06 with Carolina.

Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen, meanwhile, was named to the All-Star team Friday, along with Philadelphia forward Mike Richards. Timonen, in his first year with Philadelphia after being acquired in an offseason trade with Nashville, has five goals and 20 points while Richards has a team-high 19 goals and a career-best 47 points.

Richards had three assists Thursday for the Flyers, who have scored 10 goals in their last two games.

Against the Rangers, Simon Gagne returned to the ice for the first time in 31 games and scored his fifth goal of the season to complement Hartnell's hat trick. Gagne hadn't played since Nov. 7 against Pittsburgh, when he was forced out of the game with post-concussion symptoms. He led Philadelphia with 41 goals last season.

Hartnell, meanwhile, has four goals and six points in his last two games. Hartnell, whose last hat trick was for Nashville against Chicago on Feb. 4, 2006, has 10 goals and 20 points in 39 games.

"When you get a goal, they seem to come in bunches," said Hartnell, who has not scored in his last eight games against the Bruins.

Richards and Joffrey Lupul scored to help Philadelphia beat Boston 2-1 on Oct. 27 in the only other matchup between these teams this season.

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

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