While the Philadelphia Flyers soared into the NHL's Christmas break, the Anaheim Ducks limped behind.
The Flyers hope to keep both teams moving in opposite directions Sunday night when they visit the Ducks, who will try to extend their point streak in this series to double digits.
Philadelphia (15-12-7) entered the break as one of the hottest teams in the league with an 8-2-2 record since Nov. 27. It seemed as if the Flyers would back into their five-day hiatus when faced with a 3-0 deficit on Monday against St. Louis, but they scored four times in the final 30 minutes for a 4-3 victory, capped by Evgeny Medvedev's goal with just over three minutes left.
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Wayne Simmonds ended his seven-game goal drought with two as Philadelphia completed a 3-0-1 run into the holiday.
''We thought we'd been playing really, really good hockey of late, so it was only right for us to go into the break with a win,'' Simmonds said. ''We channeled our energy and got the win.''
After a rough start to the season, goaltender Steve Mason has a 1.62 goals-against average and a .951 save percentage while going 2-0-1 in his last three starts. However, he is 0-3-2 with a 4.28 GAA and .869 save percentage in his last six starts against the Ducks.
That includes the last four losses of Anaheim's current nine-game point streak against the Flyers. The Ducks are 7-0-2 in this series dating to January 2009.
Things haven't gone nearly as well for Anaheim (12-15-6) this season, though, as it has struggled to string wins together and has the worst goal differential (minus-23) in the Western Conference. The Ducks will play their only home contest in a stretch of eight games, which started with a 1-2-1 trip ahead of the break.
The most recent was Tuesday's 3-2 overtime loss to the New York Rangers, which dropped the Ducks to 1-3-1 in their last five. Anaheim forced extra time with Rickard Rakell's first goal since Nov. 30 but dropped to 1-6 after regulation.
The Rangers' two goals in the first 60 minutes both came on Anaheim turnovers in the defensive zone. The Ducks rank toward the bottom of the league with 9.6 giveaways per game.
"We have to make those plays," coach Bruce Boudreau told the team's official website. "To break out of this, we need to simplify our game."
It's unclear if Frederik Andersen or John Gibson will start for Anaheim. Andersen is 1-2-0 with a 3.76 GAA and .841 save percentage in his last four appearances and Gibson is 0-2-1 with a 3.01 GAA and .875 save percentage in his last four.
The Ducks are 8-3-3 at home since an 0-2-1 start, but they've totaled just five goals in four December games at Honda Center.