DENVER - If you're an elite team, you find ways to overcome injuries.
The Flyers will spend the next month - or longer - finding out if they fit that description.
Yesterday they learned winger/center Darroll Powe and center Blair Betts will miss four to six weeks with shoulder injuries that will not require surgery.
With winger Simon Gagne already sidelined following hernia and groin surgery and not expected back until the end of December, the Flyers will be without three key players for at least the next 14 games, including tonight's contest against surprising Colorado.
Winger Arron Asham is also sidelined with an injury to his side, meaning the Flyers are without four of their top 12 forwards - or 33.3 percent of their firepower.
"We have to march ahead, and some of the others have to step up," said general manager Paul Holmgren after the team recalled center Jared Ross and right winger Andreas Nodl from the AHL Adirondack Phantoms yesterday.
Pittsburgh recently went a stretch without five of its top six defensemen. Yet the defending Stanley Cup champion is atop the Atlantic Division.
Elite teams find a way.
Do the Flyers (12-7-1), losers of two straight and 1-2 on a disappointing road trip in which their power play has been listless, have enough depth to also stay afloat?
They will be counting on three players who have spent most of the season with the Phantoms - Ross and right wingers Nodl and David Laliberte.
And it would help if Jeff Carter and Mike Richards got on track.
Carter is scoreless in the last four games, and he has just one goal in his last eight games. All told, he has seven goals - eight fewer than at the same point last season.
Richards also has just one goal in his last eight games. After scoring six goals in his first five games, the Flyers' captain has three goals in the last 15 contests.
Yes, the Flyers have gotten solid secondary scoring, but they need their two marquee offensive players to find the net.
Holmgren was upset with the team's 3-1 loss on Phoenix's poor ice Saturday, a game in which former Coyote Dan Carcillo (seven hits, three shots on goal) and Scott Hartnell (goal, four shots) were among the few Flyers who had much jump.
"I was not pleased at all with the effort," Holmgren said. "It's a tough league. There's no team you can look at and say it's an automatic two points, and if you don't put forth the effort, you won't beat anyone. . . . We have to dig a little harder."
Breakaways. Former Flyer Scottie Upshall received great satisfaction in Phoenix's win over his ex-teammates Saturday. "I enjoyed every minute of it. I had the date on the calendar for a long time," he said. "It's a pleasure to go out there and face the guys who you know are your buddies.". . .. Even though the Flyers lost Betts in the first period Saturday, Riley Cote played just 2 minutes, 3 seconds and Laliberte only 5:30 as the Flyers virtually went with three lines.
Powe was injured when he was hit by San Jose's Doug Murray on Friday near the corner boards. Holmgren feared Powe would need surgery, so he called it good news that Powe has only a left-shoulder strain and will be out just four to six weeks. . . . The Flyers strongly considered recalling right winger Stefan Legein (three goals in 10 games) from the Phantoms but opted for Nodl (three goals in 16 games) because of his familiarity with the team and coaches, Holmgren said.