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Giroux makes more progress; Walker in lineup Mon.

DENVER _ Star center Claude Giroux skated with the Flyers for the second straight day in Denver on Monday and continued to make strides in his recovery from a Dec. 10 concussion.

Giroux skated for about 90 minutes total _ about an hour longer than the regulars _ and said he felt good.

"It's a process. You want to test yourself a little bit more every day," Giroux said, adding he has to push it "a little harder to get back in shape. But it was a good test today and it felt pretty good. If there are no symptoms, I don't see why you can't push yourself. I had a good skate with the boys today."

Giroux, who is tied with for the NHL scoring lead with 39 points, has missed the last three games.

"I told myself when I go back on the ice, I'm going to skate hard. I have a habit to go hard, and that's what I'm trying to do," he said.

The 23-year-old center was asked if there was any chance he could play Wednesday in Dallas.

"I don't think about that kind of stuff right now," he said. "I go day by day, and it's two more days for that game. If I'm ready to go, I'm ready to go. If it's the Rangers (Friday), good. If it's after Christmas, I don't see why to push it. It's December."

Is he concerned about coming back too soon?

"Obviously I'm aware of what could happen if I come back too fast. My reactions could be slow," he said. "I'm aware of that kind of stuff. I think the coaching staff and Jimmy (McCrossin, the trainer) are doing a good job of making sure I don't rush into it."

Surprisingly, it now seems Giroux is in line to play in the Jan. 2 Winter Classic.

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Defenseman Erik Gustafsson skated and said his surgically repaired wrist is not 100 percent yet. He said he didn't think he could play until after Christmas.

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Defenseman Matt Walker will be in the lineup Monday against Colorado; he will replace Kevin Marshall and be paired with Matt Carle. Marc-Andre Bourdon, who had been with Carle, will be paired with Andrej Meszaros.

Forward Tom Sestito is expected to make his Flyers debut Monday.

Center Ben Holmstrom will center Harry Zolnierczyk and Zac Rinaldo. It will be a homecoming of sorts for Holmstrom, who is from Colorado Springs.

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Danny Briere will center Scott Hartnell and Jaromir Jagr.

Look for Max Talbot to center JVR and Jakub Voracek. If that happens, Matt Read will likely center Wayne Simmonds and Sestito.

Jody Shelley will be a healthy scratch.

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Boston's Milan Lucic received a one-game suspension for his hit on Rinaldo on Saturday in the Bruins' 6-0 win.

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Coach Peter Laviolette said Saturday's blowout loss will serve as motivation for Monday night's game in Denver. Ilya Bryzgalov will oppose J.S. Giguere.

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Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.

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