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Flyers' Manning out to prove he belongs in NHL

It appears defenseman Brandon Manning will get to play in the Flyers' final seven games, giving him a chance to show the brass they should sign him after the season.

Manning, 24, can become a restricted free agent after the season. He is in the lineup because Andrew MacDonald suffered a season-ending hand injury in Wednesday's 4-1 win over Chicago.

"I'm just worried about finishing the season and setting myself up for the best opportunity," Manning said after Friday's practice in Voorhees. "Right now, I'm focused on playing my best for the Flyers, and I'll take that road when the season comes to an end and see what happens."

Manning will be paired with veteran Carlo Colaiacovo in Saturday's 1 p.m. game against visiting San Jose.

This is the fourth time this season that Manning has been recalled from the AHL Phantoms.

"I wouldn't say it's tough. You're excited anytime you get the opportunity to come here," said Manning, who, at the time of his call-up, was fourth among AHL defensemen with 43 points. "Every time I've gone back (to Lehigh Valley), I've kind of understood the situation here. I'm just excited to be back and hopefully finish out the season."

Manning, a native of Prince George, British Columbia, has been solid in his four games with the Flyers this season, contributing an assist and a plus-1 rating.

"Hopefully, I can play seven in a row," he said. "That would be the most I played here, and get into a rhythm and just prove I can play in this league _ move the puck and play a physical game with an edge. Show that I can be a top-six NHL D-man."

The Flyers have six defensemen signed for next season: Mark Streit, Nick Schultz, Luke Schenn, Nick Grossmann, MacDonald, and Radko Gudas, who was acquired from Tampa Bay in the Braydon Coburn deal.

Michael Del Zotto _ who is a must-sign player _ and Manning are restricted free agents, and Colaiacovo is an unrestricted free agent.

Among the defensive prospects, Sam Morin appears to have the best chance to crack the lineup at the start of next season.

Breakaways. Jake Voracek is tied with the Islanders' John Tavares for second in the NHL with 74 points, one point behind Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby…..Since the Christmas break, Streit is minus 19; he had been plus-9 before the break….In the teams' only other meeting this season, Matt Nieto scored with 11.5 seconds left, giving the Sharks a 2-1 win in San Jose on Dec. 2….The Flyers are winless in their last seven games against San Jose at the Wells Fargo Center, with their last win here coming on Dec. 21, 2000. Overall, they are 1-10-2-3 in their last 16 games vs. the Sharks.

Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.