VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Playing nine of the next 10 games on the road would seem to be a daunting task for most teams.
Not for the Flyers.
Owners of the NHL's best road record - 10-2-3 - the Flyers aren't fazed to be playing away from the Wells Fargo Center. They begin a five-game road trip Tuesday in Vancouver against the surging Canucks.
"I'm confident in our team because it doesn't seem to matter where we play. I'm not worried about that," center Danny Briere said of the seemingly brutal schedule. "It's good for us to be on the road a little bit and spend more time with the guys. It's a good challenge for us."
The fleet Canucks will certainly be a challenge. They are on a 7-0-2 run and have climbed to second overall in the Western Conference.
Could Tuesday's game be a Stanley Cup Finals preview?
"I hope so," Briere said after Monday afternoon's practice at the Rogers Center. "I hope to see the Canucks in the Stanley Cup Finals. They're a good team, but it's a long way off, and there's lots of work to be done - and lots of things can change along the way. But it would be nice. I'm not going to lie about that."
Some of the Canucks called Tuesday's meeting "a measuring stick" to see how they match up against one of the East's elite teams.
Vancouver (21-8-5) is led by the Sedin twins, Henrik (44 points) and Daniel (43), Ryan Kesler (17 goals) and goalie Roberto Luongo, who will start against the Flyers (22-8-5) before traveling to Florida Wednesday to be with his wife while she delivers a baby.
"They're a good team, a very intense team. They have some guys that like to get under your skin a little bit," said Flyers defenseman Sean O'Donnell, who is used to facing Vancouver from his 12 seasons in the Western Conference. "The Sedins are kind of the straw that stirs the drink. You have to stay out of the box" against them.
The Flyers are 10-0-4 in Vancouver since 1989. After playing the Canucks, they will face Los Angeles, Anaheim, Detroit, and New Jersey. The first four teams took an 82-46-14 record into Monday.
"Sometimes, it's easier to focus on the road," defenseman Kimmo Timonen said.
O'Donnell, who is in his first year with the Flyers, thinks the experience of reaching the Finals last season has helped give the team confidence on the road.
"A lot of our guys are veterans who have been through things. . . . Even the younger guys have been through the Finals, and you learn a lot when you go through four rounds of the playoffs, where everything is magnified," O'Donnell said. "You can't help but gain from that. We have a very businesslike approach on the road, and so far it's translated into wins."
Claude Giroux attributed the Flyers' impressive road record to strong goaltending. The Flyers have allowed two goals or fewer in 11 of their 15 road games. Sergei Bobrovsky is 7-1-1 with a 2.00 goals-against record on the road.
"Any time your goalies play well on the road, it gives you a big chance," Giroux said.
For the first time since early in the season, the Flyers will be playing road games without star defenseman Chris Pronger, who will miss four to six weeks with a broken foot. The Flyers started the season without Pronger in their first two games, and went 1-0-1 in Pittsburgh and St. Louis.
Without Pronger, the Flyers will be counting heavily on Oskars Bartulis.
Breakaways. Coach Peter Laviolette would not announce his goalie, but he is expected to go with Bobrovsky. . . . The Flyers are 6-0-1 in their last seven road games. . . . A Flyers official denied an Internet report that the team was interested in goalie Evgeni Nabokov, who recently left Russia and wants to return to the NHL. . . . On Monday night, the Flyers' Andrej Meszaros was inducted into the Vancouver Giants' ring of honor. Meszaros, who played for the Western Hockey League's junior team, dropped the ceremonial first puck. "I only played here one year, but this is kind of where my North American career started," Meszaros said. "I learned English and learned to play hockey here."