Playing their best hockey of the season just when it looked like their postseason hopes were all but dashed, the streaking Philadelphia Flyers are now making a push for a playoff spot.
The Winnipeg Jets are headed the other direction, as they're falling out of contention after a hot streak that had them eyeing a division title.
The Flyers look to extend their season-high winning streak to five Saturday when they visit the Jets, losers of five straight.
Philadelphia (17-17-3) is in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, but continued its perfectly timed roll with a 5-3 victory at Toronto on Thursday. The Flyers are just a few points out of playoff position with 11 games remaining.
"I really like the way we're playing right now. You could just tell that we were going to go out there and work hard,' coach Peter Laviolette said.
Philadelphia has scored five goals in each of its last three games and had little trouble generating offense in its second game in as many nights. It outshot the Maple Leafs 17-6 in the second period and 31-28 overall, with five Flyers scoring goals.
``Shift after shift, nobody wants to let each other down with the work ethic right now,' Laviolette said. ``It was a good win. It was a good win on the back-to-back.'
The Flyers are looking to go 3-0 against the Winnipeg franchise for their first sweep of the season series since 2008-09. They may have a good chance to do so against a Jets club that's struggled at both ends of the ice during its losing streak.
The Jets (18-19-2) have been outscored 20-6 in the past five games, falling 4-1 to Montreal on Thursday. Winnipeg, 2-7-0 in its past nine, led the Southeast Division by six points before its losing streak dropped it into 10th place in the East.
While it's still battling red-hot Washington for the division lead, it lost the season series to the Capitals and has played more games than any of the teams competing with it for the final three playoff spots.
"I don't think you can expect to lose five straight games and expect that things aren't going to change," coach Claude Noel said after his team fell 4-1 at Montreal on Thursday. "We know that if we continue down this road it isn't good. That's why there's urgency. We're running out of games."
Andrew Ladd and Blake Wheeler lead the Jets with 14 goals apiece, but they haven't scored in 12 and nine games, respectively. Ladd, though, has scored five goals in his last three home matchups with the Flyers - two in each of the last two.
Teammate Evander Kane has four goals and eight assists during an eight-game point streak in this series.
Philadelphia's Brayden Schenn has three goals and an assist against Winnipeg this year, while leading scorer Jakub Voracek has five assists in the season series and has scored in each of his last two games overall.
The Flyers' Ilya Bryzgalov has won five straight starts, though he's given up 10 goals in the past three. He has gone 5-0-1 with a 2.28 goals-against average in six career starts versus the Jets.
Winnipeg's Ondrej Pavelec has posted a 3.81 GAA over four straight losses, and he's allowed nine goals in back-to-back defeats to Philadelphia.
The Jets are opening a six-game homestand and play seven of their last nine at home, but they've dropped three of four there, totaling two goals in the defeats.
Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen will be a game-time decision after leaving Thursday's game with an undisclosed injury.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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