Flyers to retire Howe's number; Bob gets surprising start

  WINNIPEG, Manitoba _ The Flyers will retire defenseman Mark Howe's No. 2 in ceremonies before their March 6 game against visiting Detroit, a club source said on Saturday.

   Howe, 56, who spent 10 years with the Flyers, went into hockey's Hall of Fame on Monday in Toronto.

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   The Flyers' 6-4 loss in Winnipeg Saturday was just their second road defeat of the season. They are 6-2-1 on the road.

   The cozy MTS Centre, which seats just over 15,000, is one of the league's loudest buildings.

    "It was like a playoff atmosphere," defenseman Chris Pronger said.

     But the Flyers, with their defense continually getting beat out front, played loosely in the first half of the opening period and fell into a quick 3-0 hole.

    Despite the loss, the Flyers remained No. 1 in the tightly contested Eastern Conference.

   Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky was the surprise starter Saturday. Perhaps coach Peter Laviolette didn't want Ilya Bryzgalov to hear the boos from Winnipeg's fans, who are irate about comments he made about their city last season.

   Bobrovsky started for the second time in the last three games. He was the starter in the Flyers' 9-8 loss to Winnipeg last month. Bryzgalov allowed four goals in relief.

    Here are the lines the Flyers used for much of Saturday's game:

   * Giroux centering Harry Z and Hartnell.

    * Briere centering JVR and Simmonds.

   * Talbot centering Voracek and Read.

   * Couturier centering Shelley and Rinaldo.

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   Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.

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