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Biron hopes he's just warming up for Flyers

Flyers coach John Stevens is playing the hot hand. Or, based on goalie Marty Biron's last performance, the warm hand.

Flyers coach John Stevens is playing the hot hand.

Or, based on goalie Marty Biron's last performance, the warm hand.

Biron will make his fourth straight start today when the Flyers host the dangerous - and somewhat desperate - Pittsburgh Penguins at the Wachovia Center at 1 p.m.

"Marty's playing well, and I think it's important that we build on his confidence," Stevens said.

"It's good to get into a rhythm like this," Biron said.

After a scuffling stretch in which he went five weeks between victories, Biron has won three straight, including a 6-3 triumph over Buffalo on Thursday. In that game, Biron had a shaky second period - allowing three goals, two of which were faulty - before rebounding with a scoreless, 14-save final period.

In his last three starts, Biron has a 2.00 goals-against average and a flashy .949 save percentage. He will be facing a Penguins team that is 1-0-1 since Dan Bylsma replaced Michel Therrien as the head coach. Pittsburgh, which defeated the Flyers in last year's Eastern Conference finals, is battling for one of the eight playoff spots.

The Penguins, though they can't match the Flyers' scoring balance, have the league's Nos. 1 and 3 scorers - Evgeni Malkin (84 points) and Sidney Crosby (74).

"They still have offensive weapons, and adding Gonchar makes their power play that much more dangerous," said Biron, referring to defenseman Sergei Gonchar, who recently returned from a shoulder injury. "And with the rivalry and the playoffs last year, you know they're definitely going to get geared up for the game. For us, the same way. We look at the game against Buffalo as a big step, a team that was right on our heels."

Briere update. Danny Briere is on target to return Wednesday against visiting Los Angeles, general manager Paul Holmgren said.

The Flyers will have to clear about $2.5 million in cap space to fit Briere under the cap. Holmgren said nothing major will have to be done. Darroll Powe, one of the Flyers' top players in the last three games, is among those who could be sent to the AHL Phantoms.

"There's no sense in worrying about what you can't control," Powe said. "All I can do is play as hard as I can and leave the decisions up to the people who make them."

Quotable. Sean Burke, now the director of prospect development in Phoenix, had two stints with the Flyers (1997-98 and 2003-04) and said there is an abundant amount of pressure on being a goalie in Philadelphia.

"The most excited I ever was in my career was going to Philly," Burke told "The second-most excited I ever was was to get the heck out of there."

Sam Carchidi's blog: http://go.