Big test in Flyers' last game before Olympic break

Flyers defenseman Mark Streit (32), who will play for Switzerland in the Olympics, is 10th among NHL defensemen with eight goals. He has 29 points on the season.
Flyers defenseman Mark Streit (32), who will play for Switzerland in the Olympics, is 10th among NHL defensemen with eight goals. He has 29 points on the season. (YONG KIM / Staff Photographer)
Posted: February 09, 2014

The Flyers, playing their best hockey of the season, will try to go into the 18-day Olympic break with a victory when they face Calgary on Saturday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center.

Both teams are surging. The Flyers (29-23-6) have a three-game winning streak and have climbed into third place in the Metropolitan Division, while the Flames (22-28-7) have won six of their last seven.

After Saturday, the Flyers won't practice until Feb. 19, and their next game is Feb. 27 against San Jose. The players are scattering during the break. Some are headed to tropical islands, some are going back home to Canada, some have booked flights to other parts of North America.

Coach Craig Berube doesn't want the non-Olympian Flyers thinking about their vacation plans until after they face the Flames.

"Calgary is a hardworking team. It's going to be a tough game, and if we're not ready for it, we'll be in trouble," Berube, mindful of the Flames' hot streak, said after Friday's practice in Voorhees.

"You have to be focused. That'll be a job for us veterans to make sure the young guys are dialed in and working hard," said winger Scott Hartnell, who has 24 points in his last 25 games. "Calgary is second to last in the West, but they've been playing awesome."

Defenseman Mark Streit is among the Flyers who have picked up their play during recent games. Signed as a free agent in the summer after spending the last four years with the Islanders, the 36-year-old Streit has overcome a slow start. He said it was a matter of acclimating himself to a new team and a new system.

Streit is 10th among NHL defensemen with eight goals - he is tied with P.K. Subban and Drew Doughty, among others - and has 29 points. Streit has 10 points in his last 13 games

""I feel really comfortable now on the ice," said Streit, who will play for Switzerland in the Olympics. "I'm playing with a lot of confidence. I'm moving now, using my legs, and I'm shooting the puck a whole lot more. Definitely at the beginning [it took a while]. New city, new teammates . . . and maybe it took me a little longer than I was wishing for."

Emery starting? After Friday's practice, Berube did not rule out having backup goalie Ray Emery start a game for the first time since Jan. 23, a 5-2 loss in Columbus.

"Maybe. We'll see," said Berube when asked if Emery would get his first start since Jan. 23.

Mason, who has a 1.41 goals-against average and .955 save percentage in his last five starts, was bothered by leg cramps but remained in the game during Thursday's 3-1 win over Colorado. Mason did not practice Friday, but Berube called it a "maintenance day" and said the 25-year-old goalie was fine.

Emery was the goalie in the Flyers' 4-1 victory Dec. 31 in Calgary.

Breakaways. Flyers physicians Peter DeLuca and Gary Dorshimer are among the doctors assisting hockey players at the Olympics.


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