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Flyers can take advantage of weak spot in schedule

The Flyers will need to rely heavily on their offense with Steve Mason sidelined for Getty Images

With the Flyers hanging on to a thread to their slim Eastern Conference playoff hopes, a rather cooperative part of the schedule could give the team an opportunity to pick up some ground on the Bruins and Rangers.

Starting with their 7 p.m. game in Columbus against the Blue Jackets Friday, Philly plays four straight gamesvs. teams toward the bottom of the standings.

They’ll alternate games between the second-to-last place Blue Jackets, who travel to Philly Tuesday (7 p.m., on CSN), and the last-place Sabres, whom the Flyers face in Buffalo Sunday (7:30 p.m. on NBCSN) and then Thursday at home (7 p.m. on CSN).

If Philly, which trails the Bruins by eight points for the eight-seed can sweep these games, there’s a good chance they will be able to pick up some ground.

Boston plays the Canucks, Flames, Oilers and Blues during that same span. Three of those teams are in the thick of things in the West.

Philly will have to fend off Columbus and Buffalo without goalie Steve Mason, who successfully underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and is expected to miss two or three weeks in recovery.

Flyers GM Ron Hextall told reporters the setback is unrelated to the injuries Mason suffered earlier this season.

“This was an acute injury which means it happened when it happened,” Hextall said. “[There was no] previous injury, it was an injury that happened at that time. They can tell that when they go into the knee. It was pretty obvious. It’s not a big deal what he’s going through… it’s pretty routine.”

In other Flyers injury news,Kimmo Timonen skated by himself again Thursday, and hopes to participate in next Tuesday’s morning skate.Both Braydon Coburn and Michael Raffl skated with the team Thursday, but neither is likely to play Friday in Columbus. Both could return Sunday.

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