Flames-Flyers Preview

The Associated Press

If the Philadelphia Flyers and Calgary Flames had their way, they'd probably do without the Olympic break altogether.

Instead, they'll have to settle for being two of the league's hottest clubs heading into the two-week layoff.

The Flyers go for a fourth straight win while the Flames seek a seventh victory in eight games Saturday in Philadelphia.

The Flyers (29-23-6) matched a season-long skid with four straight losses from Jan. 20-25, but have since bounced back to win four of five while outscoring opponents 18-8. Philadelphia has also scored on the power play in eight consecutive games with Mark Streit's second-period goal in Thursday's 3-1 home victory over Colorado. It has eight goals in 25 chances with the man advantage over the last eight contests.

Team chairman Ed Snider hasn't been shy with his thoughts regarding the Olympic hiatus, calling the break "ridiculous."

"How can anybody be happy breaking up their season?" he said. "No other league does it, why should we? There's no benefit to us whatsoever. If anything, I can only see negatives."

Claude Giroux tallied his third goal in as many games with a late empty-netter Thursday and has five goals and five assists over his last six games.

Steve Mason again shined in net, stopping 38 shots and allowed only Nathan MacKinnon's goal with 2:50 remaining.

Mason has won four of five starts while recording two shutouts and a .955 save percentage.

"The job as starting goalie every night is to make sure we provide stability back there, and that's what I'm trying to do," said Mason, who is 2-0-1 with a 2.06 goals-against average in his last three games against Calgary.

While Philadelphia's run has allowed the team to remain in position for a playoff spot, Calgary (22-28-7) is still well off the Western Conference wild-card pace despite winning six of seven.

The Flames have scored at least four goals in each of their last five wins and received a strong goaltending performance from rookie Reto Berra in Thursday's 4-2 victory over the New York Islanders. Berra stopped 28 shots for his first career regulation victory, and helped the Flames take a 2-1 lead through two periods despite being outshot 22-11.

"Reto was simply outstanding. He was the guy who kept us in the game and gave us a chance," coach Bob Hartley said. "'He made big saves early and gave us a chance. Then we started skating better and executing better."

Mikael Backlund has six goals and four assists in his last six contests after scoring an empty-netter and recording an assist versus New York.

Philadelphia got a goal and two assists from Brayden Schenn in a 4-1 win at Calgary on New Year's Eve, but Schenn has just one point with a minus-3 rating over his last 10 games.

The Flames have won four of the last five meetings in Philadelphia.

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