Red-hot Flyers vie for eighth straight win, host Stars

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers may be the hottest team in the NHL with seven straight victories, but they also have one of most porous defenses -- allowing 90 goals in their first 29 games.

On Saturday afternoon in Philadelphia, the Flyers may meet their match when the defensively deficient Dallas Stars come to town.

The Stars have allowed 89 goals in 28 games.

While the Flyers have made up for their inflated goals allowed average by recording 93 tallies, second in the NHL behind only the New York Rangers. The Stars rank 14th in goals scored with 72.

Philadelphia (16-10-3) and its fans are still buzzing over Thursday night's 6-5 win over the Edmonton Oilers, a game in which the Flyers twice battled back from two-goal deficits to pull out a victory. It's the first time they've accomplished that feat in their 50-year history.

"You don't want to be in that situation night after night because it's awfully tough to do," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said.

"Over the 60 minutes we stuck with it, kept creating chances, never gave up and came back from a two-goal deficit twice," said Flyers left wing Michael Raffl, who scored the game-winning goal with 1:29 left. "That says it all."

The Stars (11-11-6) are coming off one of their most impressive wins of the season, a 5-2 home victory over the Nashville Predators in which top-line forwards Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Jason Spezza combined for eight points. It was the first time this season head coach Lindy Ruff matched his three most explosive players on the same line.

"Yeah it was a pretty complete game from us," Spezza said. "We've played well when we've had the lead, and (tonight) we got the lead."

The Stars, who led the NHL last season with 267 goals, have scored four or more goals just six times this season, including Thursday night.

They could get veteran forward Jiri Hudler and veteran defenseman Johnny Oduya back in the lineup on Saturday.

Hudler came off injured reserve Friday after he missed 23 games due to an undisclosed illness. He did not record a point in his first four games this season after signing late in the summer as a free agent.

To make room for Hudler, the Stars sent forward Jason Dickinson to the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League.

Hudler practiced Friday on a line with left wing Lauri Korpikoski and center Cody Eakin.

Eakin, who has no goals in 10 games, was a healthy scratch on Thursday. He's averaged 17 goals the past three seasons.

"He hasn't played very well," Ruff told the Dallas Morning News. "His numbers were down, and I didn't like his previous game."

Oduya, 35, has been sidelined since Nov. 20 with a lower-body injury.

In addition to allowing the most goals in the NHL, the Flyers and Stars have also surrendered the most short-handed goals, seven by the Flyers and five by the Stars

Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen (6-8-3) is expected to make his fourth straight start, while Steve Mason (11-8-3) is expected to make his 14th start in 15 games for the Flyers.
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