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Flyers try to begin a new streak vs. Predators

PHILADELPHIA -- With his team's 10-game win streak in the rearview mirror following Saturday's 3-1 loss to the Stars in Dallas, Philadelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall is anxious to see how his team responds on Monday night when the Nashville Predators come to town.

"I think we've got a lot of work to do," Hextall told the South Jersey Courier-Post. "I'm really interested to see (Monday) because typically when you come off of one of these (streaks) you really want to respond the right way. Every game's important, but this is an important game, not necessarily win or loss, but in terms of how we play, the effort, the focus that's there. Human nature is that we're a little disappointed and we come back and maybe there's a letdown."

The Flyers' 10-game win streak was the third-longest in franchise history, but thanks to strong runs by the Columbus Blue Jackets, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals, the Flyers (19-11-3) hold the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference standings.

"We knew we weren't going to win out the rest of the year," said goaltender Steve Mason, whose career-best, eight-game win streak was snapped on Saturday. "Different guys stepped up at key opportunities. It's something I think, if the going gets tough later on, not just individually, but as a team, something we can draw upon. This team has the capabilities to warrant a stretch like this and we'll start a new one on Monday."

Former Flyers coach Peter Laviolette and the Predators will have something to say about that. Considered one of the top teams in the Western Conference before the start of the season, the Preds (13-12-5) are three points out of a playoff spot.

After going 9-3-2 in November, Nashville is 2-4-2 in December and is just 3-9-2 on the road this season with a minus-20 goal differential.

"We have to find ways to win and get rolling and move up in the standings," said Predators center Mike Fisher, who scored Nashville's lone goal in a 2-1 home shootout loss to the Rangers on Saturday. "We know we can be better. We have to be better. We have to get back to the way we were playing a few weeks ago and start getting some wins.

"We're a confident group. We have the guys in here to do it. We're going to pick it up and just keep improving and getting better."

The Predators are the only team in the NHL without a win in overtime or by shootout (0-5) and are 0-for-7 in shootout attempts this season. Since 3-on-3 overtimes were introduced last season the Predators are 2-12 in games ended in OT.

"We've got to be better," Laviolette said.

"Overtime and shootouts just haven't been our friend for whatever reason," Fisher said. "It's frustrating."

The Predators are hoping defenseman P.K. Subban, who sat out Saturday's loss with an upper body injury, returns against the Flyers. He was scheduled to join the Predators on their two-game road trip, which continues Tuesday night in New Jersey.

Look for goaltender Pekka Rinne, who was rested on Saturday, to get the call against Philadelphia and Mason to start in goal for the Flyers.

Flyers backup goalie Michal Neuvirth, sidelined since Nov, 12 with a knee injury, is skating again but is not likely to return to action until after Christmas.

Center Sean Couturier (knee) and defenseman Mark Streit (shoulder) are also skating but are doubtful for Monday.

Philadelphia ranks third in the NHL on the power play (23.3 percent) but has gone three straight games without a power-play goal. The Preds ranks 19th on the penalty kill (80.4 percent).

Nashville allowed three or more goals in nine straight games before yielding just one in regulation on Saturday. Fisher has four goals in the last three games and nine for the year.

The Flyers also rank fourth in the NHL with 3.12 goals per game.

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