With four more home games before the Olympic break, the Minnesota Wild have a strong chance to climb up the Western Conference standings.
The Philadelphia Flyers won't have that same luxury as they try to keep pace in their conference's playoff race.
The Wild will try to earn their eighth win in nine home games Saturday night against the Flyers, losers in five of seven on the road.
Minnesota (28-25-4) is currently 12th in the West but just eight points behind Northwest Division rival Colorado in sixth. The Wild, 7-0-1 at home since Jan. 5, have a chance to make up that ground during a season-high five straight games at the Xcel Energy Center.
They got off to a strong start on that homestand, which concludes Feb. 14, with Thursday night's 4-2 win over Edmonton. Guillaume Latendresse scored the tiebreaking goal in the third period and Martin Havlat added his second of the game to help Anton Khudobin win his NHL debut.
With the team already missing starter Niklas Backstrom, Josh Harding left midway through the final period after re-aggravating a hip injury, and Khudobin stopped nine shots in his place.
"Everybody came to me and just said, 'Relax. Play your game," Khudobin said. "I just said to myself, 'I have to stop the first shot, and it'll be OK after that."
Backstrom hasn't played since Jan. 23 because of a sore back and an illness, and Wild coach Todd Richards is hopeful he can return Wednesday against Phoenix.
Harding will be shut down for three days after receiving a cortisone shot, so that means Khudobin will make his first start Saturday.
He'll face a Philadelphia team that's been shut out twice in its last four road games, including Wednesday night's 1-0 defeat to league-worst Edmonton. The Flyers (28-24-3) gave up the game's only goal on a power play with 17 seconds left.
"It was a missed assignment on my part," captain Mike Richards said. "We had a lot of chances and couldn't score. It's disappointing."
The loss and Tampa Bay's win Thursday over the New York Islanders pushed Philadelphia into a tie with the Lightning for seventh in the East. The two teams are among dense group of eight clubs within six points of each other in the conference standings.
"(The loss) doesn't help us right now. We should have found a way to kill that penalty," forward Ian Laperriere said. "We got to forget about it and go back to work."
Unlike the Wild, the Flyers won't get much time on home ice until next month. After wrapping up its three-game trip Saturday, Philadelphia will play another five of seven on the road before opening a four-game homestand March 7.
While they've struggled on the road of late, the Flyers have won four straight over the Wild. Philadelphia rallied for a 3-1 victory in its only meeting last season and will make its first trip to Minnesota since another 3-1 win on Dec. 5, 2007.
That marked the only victory in three all-time road games against the Wild but the Flyers lead the all-time series 6-2-0 with one tie.
Michael Leighton, the hard-luck loser Wednesday, earned a shootout victory over Minnesota on Nov. 15 for Carolina. The Flyers, though, are expected to go back to Ray Emery, who won his only career start against the Wild on Nov. 20, 2006, with Ottawa.