Flyers Notes: Flyers find the right balance
The Flyers have enjoyed solid goaltending, terrific defense, and offensive production from a top line this season.
NEW YORK - The Flyers have enjoyed solid goaltending, terrific defense, and offensive production from a top line this season.
They just haven't gotten them all at the same time.
The team now has offensive production throughout the lineup. Five Flyers have 20 or more goals, representing the top three lines.
It's six if you count Vinny Prospal, who scored 29 of his 32 goals before his Feb. 25 trade from Tampa Bay. With 18, Joffrey Lupul is next in line to hit 20.
The most 20-plus goal scorers the Flyers have had is eight - three times, most recently in 1982-83.
Among the players here all season, center Danny Briere leads the way with 30 goals. This is old hat to him. In Buffalo, the Sabres regularly had multiple 20-goal scorers.
"When we were in Buffalo, we were tough to match up against," Briere said last night. "We had three lines that were extremely dangerous. It's a little bit of the same case here. Who do you match up against? Who do you put your top defensemen against? It makes a big difference."
"The first stretch, our line did a good job, then Richie came on, then Cartsy," he said, referring to Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. "There was only one line at a time, it seemed, compared to now in the past couple of weeks, since we snapped out of that 10-game losing streak.
"There's more lines starting to play well, which is huge."
Briere has 12 points in his last 10 games. Carter has 10 in his last 13, and Richards has five in six games after coming back from a hamstring injury that forced him to miss nine games.
"In the last couple of games, you've seen it," Richards said. "Different lines getting five-on-five goals, and it's going to be big for us coming down the stretch. If you get balanced scoring five-on-five, you are going to have success."
The defense has given the Flyers point production all season.
"The thing we have not talked about much is we've had significant production from our back end this year," coach John Stevens said.
Kimmo Timonen leads the blueliners in assists with 35 and in points with 43. Braydon Coburn, a third-year-player, has taken giant steps with 26 assists and 35 points. Randy Jones, who missed his sixth game last night because of an injured hip flexor, has 24 assists and 28 points.
The Washington Capitals are ninth in the East, four points behind the seventh-place Flyers.
"I think all of my teammates look at the results, like Boston or Philly," and what the standings are, Capitals winger Alexander Ovechkin said last night in a conference call.
"I watch a lot of games - Philadelphia [played] the New York Islanders," he added. "I like the atmosphere. I like being in that spot, like, you know, every day anything can happen.
"So I think all of my teammates right now are pretty excited and can't wait when we move forward."