Flyers-Stars Preview

The Associated Press

Most teams would be happy coming away with a point after scoring a late goal to force extra time. The Philadelphia Flyers, though, see it as a missed opportunity.

After losing once in a three-week span, Philadelphia is now trying to avoid a season-high third straight defeat when it continues a five-game road trip Wednesday night against the Dallas Stars in a matchup of division leaders.

The Flyers, though, may get a major boost if star center Claude Giroux can return from a concussion. Giroux has been improving, and he's still tied for the NHL lead with 39 points despite missing the past four games.

The Flyers (20-8-4), in first place in the Atlantic Division, won nine of 10 from Nov. 23-Dec. 15 before having a seven-game run end with a 6-0 home loss to Eastern Conference-leading Boston on Saturday.

Philadelphia then hit the road and fell 3-2 in a shootout to Colorado on Monday. The Flyers were down 2-1 when Wayne Simmonds scored his 10th goal with 18.3 seconds left in regulation, but Ilya Bryzgalov allowed all three Avs to score in the shootout.

Philadelphia earned at least one point for the 18th time in 22 games but wasn't happy with the outcome.

"We showed a lot of character coming back in the third period on the road," center Danny Briere, who assisted on Simmonds' goal, told the Flyers' official website. "I like how we never quit and kept coming and coming, but it still feels like a loss; the feeling isn't that great."

The Flyers were especially disappointed by their play in the second period, allowing Colorado to score twice after jumping out to a 1-0 lead late in the first on Scott Hartnell's team high-tying 16th goal.

"It's a good learning (experience) for us," defenseman Kimmo Timonen said. "There's no easy games and there's no easy periods you can take off."

Pacific Division-leading Dallas (19-12-1) also had a rough time in the second period of its last game, allowing Anaheim to score three goals Monday night to erase a 3-0 deficit. The Stars, however, scored twice in the third to win 5-3 in the opener of a three-game homestand.

Dallas has won four of five and picked up at least one point in nine of 13 since dropping a season-high five in a row Nov. 11-19.

"Our message between the second and third was, 'We can't do it with a strike of lightning, we have to make sure every line is going out there and working and working and we have to do it together,' and the guys did that for the last 20," coach Glen Gulutzan said.

Michael Ryder broke the tie in the third period with his team high-tying 11th goal, and captain Brenden Morrow and Mike Ribeiro each had a goal and an assist.

Morrow has four goals and three assists in six games since returning from an upper-body injury that kept him out nearly three weeks.

"When he was sitting out, this is what we wanted to transpire ... we get a healthy captain back," Gulutzan told the Stars' official website. "We kind of stumbled around there without him, so to have him back and play his game has been a huge lift for our group."

Philadelphia took both meetings against Dallas last season to extend its winning streak in the series to five. The Flyers were 1-5-0 with eight ties in the previous 14 matchups.

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