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Cursed Flyers?

Atlanta, GA - Despite a rough start, the Philadelphia Flyers finished the weekend feeling optimistic after earning their first two wins of the season.

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The Flyers look to keep rolling Tuesday when they visit the struggling Atlanta Thrashers, whom they've beaten 10 straight times.

The Flyers (2-3-3) swept a home-and-home series from the New Jersey Devils on Friday and Saturday, taking the finale 3-2 in overtime on Jeff Carter's sixth goal of the season 3:44 into the extra period.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Philadelphia -120 money line favorites (NHL Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 5.5 goals (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 50% of bets for this game have been placed on Philadelphia -120 (View NHL Bet Percentages).

"To win close games like that against the Devils who pride themselves in winning close games, that was a real feather in our cap," Flyers coach John Stevens said. "I don't know what it looks like to the fans, but it was an inspirational game for us and it was great to get the win."

Stevens' team allowed five goals in the weekend series after giving up 17 in the previous three games. The coach was most excited about what the wins meant for Martin Biron, who made 29 saves Saturday to improve to 2-3-1 with a 3.95 goals-against average on the season.

Biron brought a 5.00 GAA into the home-and-home set.

"This win is a big boost for our confidence, but I think it will be a big boost for (Biron's) confidence as well," Stevens told the Flyers' official Web site.

Biron is 6-9-0 with a 3.19 GAA against the Thrashers (2-4-2). He's won his last two starts against them, however, shutting them out last Oct. 16 in the most recent matchup.

The Flyers have almost completely dominated the series with the Thrashers, winning the last 10 meetings and earning a point in the last 14. The Flyers have won seven straight in Atlanta and are 13-2-0 with one tie there since the series began in 1999.

Carter has eight goals and four assists in 12 games against the Thrashers.

The Flyers' schedule lightens somewhat in the next week, as five of their next six opponents have losing records.

Atlanta didn't have nearly as good a weekend as Philadelphia did, falling 5-4 to Boston on Saturday to drop to 0-2-1 in its last three games. The Thrashers have allowed 13 goals in that span.

Backup goaltender Johan Hedberg started Saturday and couldn't protect a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes, although he faced 18 shots during the Bruins' three-goal second period. He allowed the winning goal to Milan Lucic with 1:41 remaining in the game.

"In the second period, we just stopped doing the things that we were successful with in the first period," said Atlanta right wing Colby Armstrong, who had two assists.

Hedberg was making his first start of the season in place of Kari Lehtonen, who's among the league leaders with 234 saves. Lehtonen has struggled against the Flyers, going 0-6-1 with a 3.25 GAA.

Atlanta's last win over the Flyers was a 6-5 overtime victory Nov. 18, 2005.

Top Betting Trends:
All games in this series since 1996
PHILADELPHIA is 24-7 (+17.8 Units) against the spread versus ATLANTA since 1996
PHILADELPHIA is 25-4-3 straight up against ATLANTA since 1996
16 of 29 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL since 1996. (Under=+1.9 Units)
Games over the last 3 seasons
PHILADELPHIA is 8-0 (+11.3 Units) against the spread versus ATLANTA over the last 3 seasons 
PHILADELPHIA is 8-0-0 straight up against ATLANTA over the last 3 seasons 
7 of 8 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons . (Under=+6.0 Units)
All games played at ATLANTA since 1996
PHILADELPHIA is 13-3 (+12.7 Units) against the spread versus ATLANTA since 1996
PHILADELPHIA is 13-2-1 straight up against ATLANTA since 1996
9 of 15 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL since 1996. (Under=+2.4 Units)
Games played at ATLANTA over the last 3 seasons.
PHILADELPHIA is 4-0 (+6.7 Units) against the spread versus ATLANTA over the last 3 seasons 
PHILADELPHIA is 4-0-0 straight up against ATLANTA over the last 3 seasons 
3 of 4 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons . (Under=+2.0 Units)
Key Player Injuries
PHILADELPHIA
[D] Derian Hatcher is out indefinitely - Knee - 10/09/08
(!) [F] Simon Gagne missed last game %27?%27 Friday vs New Jersey - Flu - 10/22/08
[D] Randy Jones expected to miss up to 2 months - Hip - 10/09/08
[D] Ryan Parent expected to miss 3-4 months - Shoulder - 10/07/08
ATLANTA
No significant injuries.

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Posted: 10/28/08 1:52 AM

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