Jeff Carter's line is the hottest in the NHL.

Carter and wingers Scott Hartnell and Joffrey Lupul have scored eight of the Flyers' nine goals in the club's last two games. During that span, the trio has accounted for 17 points.

In today's 3-2 shoot-out loss in New Jersey, Carter scored his 25th goal to take over the league lead.

The 23-year-old center won't be selected by fans as a starter in the All-Star Game _ the league didn't even put him on the ballot _ but he is a shoo-in to be added to the squad.

While Carter's Old City Line _ all three players live in Center City _ has been sizzling, Mike Richards' line has been slumping lately and will try to get untracked Tuesday against visiting Ottawa.

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Defenseman Randy Jones, coming back from hip surgery, played his first game of the season today. As a result, 18-year-old Luca Sbisa was a healthy scratch. Coach John Stevens will play Sbisa Tuesday and probably rest Andrew Alberts.

In today's game, Jones played 20:12 (26 shifts) and was a minus-1.

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The Flyers, now 14-2-4 in their last 20 games, made a nice comeback from a 2-0 deficit and sent the game into OT on a late goal by Lupul, who has excelled since being placed on Carter's line.

The Flyers continue to struggle in shoot-outs; they are 1-3 in shoot-outs this year after going 3-6 last season.

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The Flyers are hopeful goalie Marty Biron can play Tuesday; he has been sidelined the last three games because of the flu. Anetero Niittymaki has played admirably as Biron's replacement.

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Concern Dept.: The Flyers continue to struggle on faceoffs. They won just 20 of 61 draws today, a 33 per cent success rate.

Another concern: The penalty kill is slumping _ probably because the team is shorthanded too often and the unit is getting tired. The Flyers have allowed at least one power-play goal in seven of their last eight games.

On the flip side, the Flyers' PP is clicking. In their last 10 games, the Flyers have 17 power-play goals.

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Bottom line: The Flyers have overcome a dreadul 0-3-3 start and deserve a B-plus for the season. That's impressive when you realize the club has played most of the year without the injured Danny Briere.

Give me your grade on the club through the season's first two-plus months.

_ Sam Carchidi