In a not too distant time this season, the Flyers scored more goals per game than any other team.

Impressively, they were besting offensive juggernauts Washington, Pittsburgh and San Jose at that point. Had they continued at that 3.65 goals-per-game clip, they still would be leading the NHL.

Instead, the Flyers have scored just 21 goals in 11 games since they began faltering in San Jose on Nov. 20. That 1.90 average has pushed the Flyers' offense back to 20th in the 30-team NHL.

What does all of this mean?

It's music to Martin Brodeur's ears as he makes his third attempt to break the NHL's all-time shutout mark tonight when the New Jersey Devils host the snakebitten Flyers at the Prudential Center.

Brodeur tied Terry Sawchuk's record of 103 career shutouts on Monday night in Buffalo.

The Flyers were shut out on Thursday night by Ottawa, the third time they have gone goalless in their last six games.

"Defensively, we haven't given up much," coach Peter Laviolette said. "The biggest emphasis, the biggest point that needs to be made, is that we have to have an attack at the net.

"It's not a pretty goal, just throwing something at the net and somebody crashing the net. A lot of goals are being scored that way. That's where we really need to emphasize."

The Flyers put up a six-spot on the New York Islanders on Tuesday night as they showed flashes of Laviolette's aggressive offense, but they were seriously lacking energy on Thursday.

As such, Laviolette held the regulars off the ice yesterday and opted for a team workout.

While Devils coach Jacques Lemaire says Brodeur "feels no pressure," Laviolette knows the Flyers need to get back on the winning track. Only Florida has fewer wins in their last 10 games (one) than the Flyers (two).

"We're in a position where we have to win some games before Christmas," Laviolette said. "We haven't won the games we need to win. We've got to refocus and get back at it."

Gagne getting green light

With each extra session after practice, Simon Gagne is inching closer to returning. Gagne had surgery - similar to Ray Emery's - on Nov. 2 to repair both sides of his torn abdominal wall.

"It's hard to know what's going to happen in the next couple days," Gagne said. "I will push it hard. I did a couple one-on-one drills [yesterday] and a little bit of hitting, pushing."

Gagne, who posted 74 points in 79 games last year, skated with Blair Betts (shoulder), Darroll Powe (shoulder), Riley Cote (healthy), Ole-Kristian Tollefsen (healthy) and goalie Johan Backlund (healthy) to sharpen his skills.

He will travel to New Jersey, Boston and Pittsburgh this week and skate with the team before he meets with doctors on Wednesday to determine his availability.

Tollefsen has not played since Nov. 7, when he left the game against St. Louis with a mild concussion. The seventh defenseman has been a healthy scratch for the past 5 weeks. Laviolette expects Powe and Betts to return within 5-to-10 days.

Slap shots

Backup goalie Johan Backlund picked up some extra work yesterday on the ice. The thought is that Backlund will get one of the four games this week but probably not either of the Pittsburgh games. The Swede said he is ready to play when needed. *

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