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Flyers try to end costly slide in clash with Blues

Mar 12, 2015 - 2:47 PM ( - The Philadelphia Flyers hope to end a costly three-game losing streak when they visit the St. Louis Blues for Thursday's tilt at Scottrade Center.

The Flyers entered this past weekend with slim playoff chances and are in much worse shape following a 0-2-1 stretch that began with Saturday's overtime loss in Boston. Philadelphia followed the next day with a 5-2 setback in New Jersey and then returned home to drop Tuesday's 2-1 decision to Dallas.

With only 14 games left on their slate, the Flyers are nine points behind Boston for a playoff spot in the East, meaning the club will likely miss the postseason for the second time in three years.

Nonetheless, Philadelphia will try to get something positive going tonight when it aims for a two-game season sweep of the Blues, who fell 3-1 to the Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on March 5. Philly scored three times in the third period of that victory to beat St. Louis for the second time in three meetings.

The Flyers have lost three in a row in St. Louis and haven't earned a victory in the Gateway City since Dec. 17, 2005.

Philly lost for the sixth time in seven games with the setback to Dallas, which received the game-winner off the stick of Vernon Fiddler with 6:10 remaining in regulation.

Luke Schenn had Philadelphia's only goal, tallying the marker early in the first period.

Steve Mason stopped 37 of the 39 shots in a losing effort and was critical of his team's effort in the loss.

"There's no desperation," he said. "It's tough to come in a room after games like that where we just needed to have a much better effort. It just wasn't there."

"I'm embarrassed," Mason added. "I hope everybody else is embarrassed because we have an effort like that at home in situations where we have to come up big, and we come up empty. We have to be a lot better."

The Blues, who are second in the Central Division and two points behind Nashville, have won two in a row since losing to the Flyers. St. Louis pounded Toronto 6-1 on the road this past Saturday before taking a 5-4 home decision against Winnipeg on Tuesday.

St. Louis coughed up a 4-1 lead in the third period against the Jets, but won in regulation thanks to a fluky goal from Barret Jackman, who scored from the neutral zone with 1:03 to play.

Robert Bortuzzo gathered the puck off a neutral zone faceoff win and sent it across the ice to Jackman, who played the puck off the boards and fired it from above the blue line and past an unsuspecting Ondrej Pavelec for the game- winner.

Not only did Jackman score from an unorthodox spot on the ice, but it was also his first goal since Dec. 11.

Vladimir Tarasenko, Jori Lehtera and Jaden Schwartz each tallied a goal and an assist, Steve Ott also lit the lamp and Brian Elliott made 12 saves for the Blues.

"Justice. You play that good for two periods and you deserve that fate," St. Louis head coach Ken Hitchcock said. "The hockey gods took care of us."

Tarasenko has two goals and four assists during a four-game point streak. He has 33 goals and 33 assists for 66 points this season, which is the second most points by a Blues player in the past 10 seasons. Brad Boyes tallied 72 during the 2008-09 season.

St. Louis is 23-8-2 as the host this season and is playing the middle test of a three-game homestand tonight.

Elliott will start tonight for the Blues and owns a 7-2-2 career mark and 2.79 goals against average against the Flyers. Mason is expected to go for Philadelphia and is 7-6-2 with a 2.60 GAA in 17 lifetime appearances versus St. Louis.