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Character test for Lecavalier-less Flyers

The Flyers entered Sunday three points out of a playoff spot, but with the unsightly prospect of not having center Vinny Lecavalier for the next four weeks.

Lecavalier, whose nine goals are tied for the Flyers' lead,  has a non-displaced fracture of his lower back and could miss the next 13 games.

This four-week stretch could define the Flyers' season.

They are just 2-5 in games Lecavalier has missed, and if that trend continues, they may find themselves buried in the standings by the time their gifted 33-year-old center returns.

It's time for the underachieving forwards _ guys like Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell, Jake Voracek and Wayne Simmonds _ to step up. Time for the team, which has recovered nicely from a 1-7 start, to show some character.

If not, the Flyers will be looking at their second straight playoff-less season.

GM Paul Holmgren said there's no urgency to try to acquire a forward _ at least that's his public stance _ but if the above players don't start producing, he has to do SOMETHING before it's too late.

The Flyers, 2-2 on their six-game road trip, play in Ottawa on Monday night; they desperately need a win because they figure to be overmatched in the finale of their journey, a game Wednesday in Chicago.

Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.