Yesterday, coming off back-to-back games including one in Canada, the Flyers practiced for more than 70 minutes.

That probably would never have happened under former coach John Stevens.

A practice would have been unlikely under Stevens, but a "bag skate" would have been out of the question. A bag skate is when the pucks are put in the bag and the players just skate.

New coach Peter Laviolette didn't take it easy on his troops yesterday. Following their resounding, 6-2 win over the Islanders on Tuesday night, Laviolette put the Flyers through an intense, 15-minute skate in the middle of practice for the five penalties they took in the second period that allowed the Isles to creep back in the contest.

Laviolette punished the entire Flyers team for the penalties with skating - and then gave a little extra to the culprits.

"That [skating] was for the penalties," Scott Hartnell said. "All of the penalties in the second period somewhat got them back in the game. We need to stay out of the box. I think we can play with any team five-on-five."

Shorthanded is a different story. The Flyers have given up seven power-play goals since Laviolette took over three games ago.

Since the Flyers' penalty kill was ranked fifth in the first week of November, it has plummeted to 24th before last night's games. They are killing just 77.8 percent of their penalties this season.

"Guys know that we have to stay out of the box," Laviolette said. "The penalty kill caught a couple of bad bounces [on Tuesday] right in front of the net. Sometimes when you're sputtering, your penalty kill is the reason why."

Hartnell said that not every penalty is an issue - like Ian Laperriere's charging call late in the second. Rather, those hooking-type penalties behind the play at the end of a long shift are killing the Flyers.

"The cheap ones," Hartnell said, "like stick work and elbows to the face, those are the tough ones. They always seem to bite you in the butt."

"We need to be smarter and take less penalties," said Laperriere, one of the Flyers' best penalty killers. "We know that we will skate for those penalties now."

In their last 14 games, the Flyers have played just two flawlessly on the penalty kill.

"I think we need a game where we just need to stay out of the box," Blair Betts said. "We just need to keep it down to one or two and make sure they're good penalties. It's definitely something that we need to improve on and fix in a hurry. When you give up a goal or two on the penalty kill, you're forcing your power play to be really good."

Emery surgery a success

Ray Emery had successful surgery yesterday morning at Hahnemann University Hospital to repair the "significant" tear in his rectus abdominus muscle.

The surgery was completed by Dr. William Meyers, the same surgeon who completed a similar procedure on Simon Gagne on Nov. 2. Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said Emery will be out of action for approximately 6 weeks and he will begin rehab today.

Slap shots

Blair Betts, who has been out with a dislocated right shoulder since Nov. 21, broke a piece of glass with a shot at the Flyers Skate Zone yesterday, forcing the Flyers to switch rinks in the middle of practice. Betts, grinning, called it a "muffin shot that must've found a weak part of the glass." He says he is feeling better but has not played with any contact. It will be a couple more weeks before he is ready to return . . . Simon Gagne participated in contact drills for the first time yesterday. Peter Laviolette said he may return sometime after this weekend . . . Tonight's opponent, Ottawa, is in a similar situation as the Flyers. Backup Brian Elliott will start his 10th consecutive game as Pascal Leclaire had surgery to repair a broken cheekbone.

For more news and analysis, read Frank Seravalli's blog, Frequent Flyers, at http://go.philly.com/frequentflyers.