Getting It Together
Though the Philadelphia Flyers turned in disappointing results at the start of the month, it hasn't taken them long to find success.
Seeking their season-high fifth straight victory, the Flyers meet the struggling Dallas Stars on Monday night at the Wachovia Center.
Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Philadelphia -155 money line favorites (NHL Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 5.5 goals (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 63% of bets for this game have been placed on Philadelphia -155 (View NHL Bet Percentages).
Philadelphia (9-6-4) opened November with three straight losses, but rebounded by winning five of its next six contests (5-0-1). That stretch has been capped by four straight victories, including Saturday's 4-3 overtime decision against Phoenix.
Jeff Carter tied the score in the last minute of regulation, then set up captain Mike Richards' game-winning goal 1:35 into the extra period.
Carter, second in the NHL with 14 goals, has five goals and an assist in his last five contests and has 18 points.
"He is really playing unreal," said Richards, who has 11 points in as many games and is second on the Flyers with 21 points. "He's doing a lot of good things on the penalty kill and on the power play. Right now he's doing everything he can to win us hockey games."
The same can be said about Martin Biron, who is 4-0-1 with a 1.76 goals-against average and a .944 save percentage in his last five starts. He made 25 saves Saturday, and will likely be in net versus Dallas (6-9-4) as he is 5-3-0 with a 2.65 GAA in eight career matchups against the Stars.
Monday's contest features the losers from last season's conference finals. Philadelphia was bested by Pittsburgh in the East, while Dallas lost to eventual Stanley Cup champion Detroit in the West.
But the Stars haven't been playing like postseason contenders through the first seven weeks of 2008-09, sitting last in the Pacific Division.
One area of concern for Dallas has been a defense that has surrendered a conference-worst 70 goals. The squad, however, turned in a decent effort in a 2-1 shootout loss to visiting Anaheim on Saturday.
"The way things have been going, it goes without saying that there were some positives (Saturday)," said Marty Turco, who has a 3.49 GAA while starting all but two of the Stars' games this season. "We're emphasizing the little things and it's nice to get the point, but we really wanted the win."
Dallas is also hurting without captain Brenden Morrow, who suffered a season-ending injury in Friday's loss to Chicago. The left wing will miss six months after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, but his surgery has yet to be scheduled.
"There's not too many guys in the league you'd miss as much as Brenden Morrow," Turco said. "We've got to pick up the slack."
Turco has compiled a 1.66 GAA in four career starts versus the Flyers, and had posted three ties against them before stopping 18 of 19 shots to lead Dallas to a 4-1 victory at Philadelphia on Dec. 1, 2007.
Turco hopes to contain Philadelphia's Simon Gagne, who has three goals and eight assists during a seven-game point streak. His 25 points are tied for fifth in the league.
Dallas has won the last two meetings with Philadelphia, and will be trying for the first three-game winning streak in the teams' all-time series.