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Mired in 8-game rut, Flyers face Sharks

PHILADELPHIA -- Twenty-four hours after Brian Elliott made a career-high 47 saves in Philadelphia's 5-4 overtime loss in Pittsburgh, the Flyers are likely to turn to Michal Neuvirth to try to stop an eight-game losing streak Tuesday night when they face the San Jose Sharks.

The Flyers (8-9-7) have dropped three consecutive games in overtime, and five of their losses in the losing streak have come after regulation. Their seven losses after regulation are a league high.

"It's pretty frustrating," Philadelphia defenseman Andrew MacDonald said after returning to the lineup Monday following a 15-game absence caused by a leg injury. "Everyone in here is feeling it, and we have a chance (Tuesday) to turn it around."

While the Flyers likely will start Neuvirth (2-4-1, 2.59 goals-against average, .916 save percentage), the Sharks are expected to go with backup Aaron Dell (2-3-1, 2.23, .920) because of an injury to starter Martin Jones.

"It's been a little while since I've played two in a row, but I don't think it really changes anything if it's two in a row or three in a row or one every once in a while," Dell told the San Jose Mercury News. "I kind of do the same thing to prepare every game. I don't think that should change anything for me."

Jones made the trip to Philadelphia, which begins a four-game road trip, but did not practice on Monday after appearing to injure his leg in the third period of the Sharks' 4-0 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday.

"Just tightened up a little bit," Jones said. "General muscle tightness. I went through some (tests), but it's fine. Everything was negative."

The Sharks (12-8-2) also are expected to be without defenseman Paul Martin, right winger Barclay Goodrow and center Melker Karlsson, although all three made the trip for a four-game road swing that continues with stops at the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals.

The Sharks are led by Logan Couture (13 goals, 19 points), Tomas Hertl (five goals, 14 points) and Joe Thornton (three goals, 14 points). Their power play, ranked 22nd in the NHL at 16.9 percent, has struggled through the first 22 games of the season, but their penalty kill is ranked second at 88 percent.

The Flyers, meanwhile, are struggling on both special teams. During their eight-game losing streak, they have gone 4-for-21 on the power play while allowing 10 goals on 33 opposing power plays. Philadelphia also is averaging just 2.4 goals per game while allowing 3.7.

Moreover, the Flyers have blown two-goal leads in four of their past six games.

"It's hard because we're putting ourselves in a chance to win hockey games," Flyers right winger Travis Konecny said. "Maybe we're putting our guard down and teams are taking advantage. It almost feels like we need to play a perfect 60 minutes to win a hockey game. It's going to turn for us sooner or later."

Right winger Jakub Voracek (seven goals, 22 points) and center Sean Courturier (14 goals, 26 points) lead the Philadelphia offense, though both were a minus-3 on Monday.

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