During a six-city road trip in which their injury list swelled to nine players, the Flyers were a respectable 2-2-2. Entering last night, they were tied with the New York Rangers atop the Atlantic Division.
It was a trip that included injuries, a dreadful start, travel problems that caused two canceled practices, and more injuries.
"All things considered, I thought it was pretty good," center Jeff Carter said of a trip that started with lopsided losses in Chicago and Columbus.
"We battled hard every game," he said. "We had a little bit of a tough start but we pulled together, and a lot of guys stepped up with all the injuries we've had. We had guys playing different positions and getting a lot more minutes."
The Flyers had arguably their most impressive performance of the trip in the 2-1 shoot-out loss in Washington.
Shorthanded because of injuries and facing a team that had a 17-1-1 home record, the Flyers contained Alex Ovechkin and Co. and collected a hard-earned point in the evenly played matchup.
Special teams were a negative on the trip. Braydon Coburn's goal against Washington made the Flyers just 2 for 19 on the power play, a success rate of 10.5 percent, in the six games.
In addition, they have allowed at least one power-play goal in eight straight games, during which opponents have converted 10 of 39 chances, or 25.6 percent.
All told, the Flyers entered last night second in the NHL on the power play at 25.8 percent and tied for 13th in penalty-killing at 82.2 percent. Until recently, they had been among the league's elite penalty-killing teams.
All-star nods. Jeff Carter, who is tied with Ovechkin and Buffalo's Thomas Vanek for the league lead with 27 goals, and center Mike Richards, who has 15 goals and 42 points, appear to be shoo-ins to be named as reserves for the Eastern Conference all-star team, which is to be announced today.
The starters have been selected by fan balloting.
Left winger Simon Gagne, who has 18 goals, and Kimmo Timonen, who has 25 points, which ranks fifth among Eastern Conference defensemen, are also strong candidates. The game will be played Jan. 25 in Montreal.
Breakaways. About 700 tickets remained for tonight's game against visiting Minnesota, which is coming off a 1-0 upset victory at Boston. The Flyers will reach the halfway point of the regular season tonight . . . Even though the Flyers have been beset by injuries and can use Danny Briere, the center says he won't rush his return. "Not after what happened the first two times," he said of being reinjured after coming back from abdominal and groin injuries. There is a slight chance Briere will play Saturday against Toronto, but a return next week is more likely.
Right winger Arron Asham (knee) will likely return tonight. . . . Right winger Joffrey Lupul (abdominal pull) and goalie Antero Niittymaki (groin) skated yesterday and were making progress. Both should be back early next week. . . . The Capitals held a contest with the following question on their scoreboard Tuesday: What is Philadelphia best known for? (A) Rocky, (B) cheesesteaks, or (C) obnoxious fans. Classy operation they're running, eh?