Briere out, Lappy in as Flyers go for 15th straight vs. Atlanta

Ian Laperriere will try to play tonight against Atlanta despite losing four teeth against the Sabres yesterday. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

   ATLANTA _ More bad news for the Flyers: Danny Briere, who is second on the team with 10 goals, will miss tonight's game in Atlanta because of the flu.

    Briere had missed the previous two games because of an NHL-mandated suspension.

    Barry Hanrahan, the Flyers' assistant GM, strongly denied a published report that said Briere was bothered by a groin problem that plagued him last season. Hanrahan said the Flyers are hopeful Briere can play Thursday against Vancouver, and that the veteran forward did not make the trip to Atlanta because they do not want him infecting his teammates.

   On the positive side....

     Despite being in pain and barely able to open his mouth to talk, Ian Laperriere was at the Flyers' optional skate Saturday morning and plans to play tonight.

    The right winger was hit in the mouth by Jason Pominville's slap shot Friday and lost seven teeth _ up from the original count of four _ while having 50 to 100 stitches administered.

    In the same game _ a 4-2 loss to Buffalo _ center Jared Ross suffered a neck injury that is not believed to be serious. Ross was replaced last night by Jon Kalinski.

   Buffalo's Patrick Kaleta was suspended two games for delivering the illegal hit on Ross.

   “I think he may be the most dangerous player in the league,” Stevens said. “I know he plays hard and is a good player, but he’s a reckless player.”

    The Flyers have won 14 straight over Atlanta since a 6-5 overtime loss on Nov. 18, 2005.

    Fourteen consecutive wins over an opponent equals a franchise record. The Flyers also won 14 in a row against the Los Angeles Kings from 1978 to 1982.

    Twelve of the Flyers' wins against Atlanta came with Antero Niittymaki in goal. Nitty is now with Tampa Bay.

    Brian Boucher, who had a 1.61 goals-against average on the recent road trip, will be in the nets tonight.