Series (Game 2 of 2)

Philadelphia leads 2-0

Game 1: Saturday, October 18th
Game 2: Friday, December 5th

Coyotes 2

(9-10-1, 25 pts)

Flyers 3

(16-3-1, 38 pts)

7:00 PM ET, December 5, 2003

Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1 2 3 T
ARI 1 0 12
PHI 0 2 13

J. LeClair (Flyers - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

D. Brashear (Flyers - LW): Goals: 0, Assists: 1

B. Radivojevic (Coyotes - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Phoenix (9-9-6-1) at Philadelphia (15-3-5-1) 7:00 pm EST

PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- Goaltender Robert Esche gets the start against his former team Friday night as the Philadelphia Flyers host the Phoenix Coyotes.

Esche was acquired from Phoenix on June 12, 2002 with Michal Handzus for goalie Brian Boucher and a draft pick. He was Phoenix's sixth-round pick in the 1996 draft and played parts of three seasons there.

In his first season in Philadelphia, Esche was 12-9-3 with 2.20 goals against average in 30 games as Roman Cechmanek's backup. This season, he has split time with Jeff Hackett and is 7-2-2 with a 1.88 GAA in 11 games.

Esche is facing the Coyotes for the third time. In a 6-2 win in Philadelphia on October 31, 2002, he stopped 18 shots. On December 28 at Phoenix, Esche gave up four goals on 33 shots in a 4-0 loss.

The Flyers are the only unbeaten home team in the NHL at 11-0-2 and Esche has been key to the start. He is 6-0-1 with a 1.69 GAA at the Wachovia Center and unbeaten in his last eight home starts dating to March 22.

However, Esche is not the only former Coyote that has aided Philadelphia's big start. Jeremy Roenick and Tony Amonte, who were teammates in Chicago but not in Phoenix, have combined for 43 points this season.

They have spent most the season as a linemate of Mark Recchi, who had two goals on October 18 in a wild 5-4 victory at Phoenix.

Roenick, played in Phoenix from 1996-2001, added a power-play goal and two assists, while Amonte, whose stint with the Coyotes ended after 59 games last season, chipped in two assists.

Roenick and Recchi had a hand in Philadelphia's latest win, a 5-2 home win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. They each had a goal and an assist as the Flyers avoided back-to-back losses for the second time this season.

The Coyotes have won two in row following an 11-game road winless streak.

Phoenix ran its unbeaten streak to four games with Thursday's 3-2 win at Buffalo. The Coyotes continued to excel at 4-on-4 situations as Branko Radivojevic scored with 4:03 remaining.

Prior to scoring Phoenix's 10th-leading 4-on-4 goal, Radivojevic assisted on former Flyer Chris Gratton's third goal in as many games. Gratton and Boucher are two former Flyers that played key roles in the win.

Boucher made 34 saves Thursday, but Sean Burke, who played 11 games as a Flyer during the 1997-98 season, is expected to oppose Esche. He is 15-16-4 lifetime against the Flyers.

Philadelphia is 22-8-0 all time at home against the Coyotes.