Fourth line powers Flyers’ win
BUFFALO - The Flyers' new LCB Line looked like its famous predecessor tonight.
BUFFALO - The Flyers' new LCB Line looked like its famous predecessor last night.
As a result of that surprising development, the Flyers cruised past the sizzling Buffalo Sabres, 5-2, and registered their third consecutive victory.
The fourth line of Dan Carcillo, Blair Betts, and Ian Laperriere, a group that usually makes its mark with its checking, was a combined plus-9 at the HSBC Arena. Carcillo, known more for his fists, scored two goals - one an empty-netter - and had a game-high seven shots in the best performance in his brief Flyers career.
No one will ever accuse this LCB line of resembling the Leach-Clarke-Barber line that helped the Flyers win a Stanley Cup in 1975, but it sure looked as productive on this night.
"The line that I'm on, we all just complement each other well," said Carcillo, who once had a hat trick with Phoenix. "But two goals isn't too shabby."
In addition to Carcillo scoring his first two goals of the season, Betts (assist) set up numerous chances and was an effective penalty killer, and Laperriere chipped in with a pair of assists. Each player was plus-three, and the line averaged about 15 minutes - a marked increase from its normal ice time.
Third-line winger Darroll Powe made it 4-1 with a goal early in the final period against a shaky Ryan Miller, who had looked like a Vezina Trophy candidate while building a 9-1-1 record before last night.
"We wanted to get traffic in front of him, and we did a good job of doing that, being physical and getting in their face," Carcillo said.
Left winger James van Riemsdyk, the hotshot rookie who has 14 points in 11 games, and defenseman Chris Pronger added goals for the Flyers, who have scored 17 goals in their last three games.
Goalie Ray Emery played another strong game; he is 8-3-1.
The Flyers (8-4-1) won even though about half their players were recovering from the flu, and they were missing three injured players: Danny Briere, Simon Gagne, and Ryan Parent.
"We had kind of a sick week and had some practices where we only had three lines, but sometimes you play your best hockey when you're not feeling so well, especially when you know you have a good opponent to face that you really respect," Emery said. "You kind of play simple, and it works out a lot of the time."
Emery made 28 saves, and one of Buffalo's goals caromed off defenseman Braydon Coburn.
But the night's focus was on the fourth line.
"Your top lines aren't going to be your best players every night, so it's good to spread the scoring around," winger Scott Hartnell said. "Our power play wasn't clicking tonight, so it's nice to get that line [going]. It gives everyone confidence."
Carcillo said he and his blue-collar linemates "can all play; we can play against any line in the league. Fourth line? Third line? It's just a name, I guess. We can all skate and we can all play the same type of game."
"Some nights, the puck follows you and it goes in, and tonight was one of those nights," Laperriere said. "It's fun to play with guys like Betts and Carcillo. They work hard and they go to the net. That's what happened on Daniel's first goal [deflecting Coburn's shot past Miller]; he went to the net and was at the right place with hard work."
Carcillo, Betts, and Laperriere combined for 12 of the Flyers' 37 shots. The Flyers are 6-0 with Betts in the lineup.
"We're all jelling and the lines are rolling over," said Carcillo, whose team took a league-best 3.67 goals-per-game average into the night. "We're keeping it simple and getting pucks to the net. But we think defense foremost."
Considering Buffalo had a 9-2-1 record and had allowed a league-low two goals per game, last night's win was one of the Flyers' most impressive of the season.
"It's huge. We wanted to get on a roll. It's three in a row, and you don't want to win-one-lose-one-win-one-lose one" as they had been doing, Carcillo said.