IT ENDED, on the scoreboard, with a similar result.
But while the route the Flyers took in last night's 5-1 win over the Ottawa Senators included the familiar power-play and shorthanded goals, and the familiar faces on the score sheet, it was different from their last two wins, which included 13 total goals.
Ottawa actually made the Flyers earn the victory - over a full 60 minutes. It was the Flyers' first win among the last three in which they entered the third period with the outcome still in question.
Or, at least, a little bit in question.
"I thought it was a real consistent effort," coach Peter Laviolette said. "Defensively, other than one opportunity, we were pretty tight. Offensively, we threw a lot of pucks at the net. The other two games kind of got away from us. We dipped a little bit and just got through the game. I thought [last night] was probably one of our better games in the stretch."
The stretch, in which the Flyers are 9-0-1 in their last 10 games, has made them the hottest team in the NHL. With 26 points, the Flyers are only one point behind Eastern Conference-leading Washington for the best record in the league.
It is the Flyers' longest streak without a regulation loss since they went 9-0-2 in 11 games from Dec. 17, 2005 to Jan. 6, 2006. They will have a chance to equal that mark tonight at Montreal's Bell Centre.
"Compared to the last few [wins], it took a little longer," Danny Briere said. "If you look at the  shots, we were right there. It just took a little longer to open up the floodgates."
The floodgates have officially opened. The Flyers have won their last three games by a combined margin of 14 goals.
"Confidence is a big thing," said Briere, who scored his ninth goal of the season in the first period. "I know it's not going to last the whole season, unfortunately, but we're trying to take advantage of it while guys are feeling hot and feeling good with their sticks."
There might be no duo in the NHL that has clicked the way Claude Giroux and Mike Richards have in the last 10 games.
Giroux and Richards posted three points apiece last night, with Giroux contributing a goal and two assists and Richards adding two goals for the second straight game, plus an assist.
Last night was Giroux' seventh multipoint game in the last 10. Richards has posted points in nine of his last 10 games after accumulating only six points in the first eight games.
Even Giroux, who has a team-leading 21 points, didn't really expect this kind of a quick start. He was tied for seventh in the NHL in scoring, pending last night's late games.
"Actually, I am a little bit surprised," Giroux said. "I want to have a good season, and right now it is going well. Anytime the team plays well, you get comfortable. We are just having fun right now."
Every single Flyers skater has scored at least one point in this sizzling, 9-0-1 mark - as has goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, who got an assist of his own Saturday against Florida.
Bobrovsky, now tied for the league lead in wins with 11, started his 10th straight game last night. He might not rest until the Flyers stop piling on points.
"We play too many games to even look at [the standings]," Richards said. "I think we are a team that knows from experience how things can turn around, either way, if we stop working hard."
It's hard to put a finger on why the Flyers have played so strong, so consistently. They are now 6-0-1 since almost half the team decided to grow mustaches in November to support men's health and prostate-cancer awareness.
It couldn't actually be the mustaches, could it?
"I wish I could put my finger on it and explain it," Briere said. "When it's not there, you try to fix it. When it is there, you try to run with it as long as you can and try to ride it. I wish it could last the whole year."
Dan Carcillo will miss at least 2 weeks after leaving last night's game with a left knee injury, according to general manager Paul Holmgren.
"Right now, we think it's an MCL sprain," Holmgren said. "We're going to have a further exam [today], probably an MRI."
Holmgren said Andreas Nodl, who sat out with a bruised left big toe, could have played. Nodl will skate tonight in Montreal and James van Riemsdyk will remain in the lineup. Holmgren said the Flyers would not recall anyone from Adirondack for tonight's game.
Sens honor Richardson
Rather than head from Philadelphia to Raleigh, N.C., to continue their four-game road trip against the Hurricanes tomorrow, the Senators were set to return to Ottawa early this morning to pay their respects to assistant coach and former Flyer Luke Richardson's daughter, Daron, who passed away on Saturday.
Daron Richardson, 14, committed suicide at the family's home in Ottawa. Her Celebration of Life will take place today at the Senators' arena, Scotiabank Place.
"We thought it was the right thing to do," Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson said. "We want to be there for their family."
Before last night's game, the Flyers paid tribute to Richardson's family with a moment of silence. Richardson spent five seasons with the Flyers, playing 387 games.
Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov will sit out tonight's game against the Flyers at the Bell Centre with a lower-body injury, the team said.
Markov appeared to hurt his right knee during an awkward fall on Saturday, the same knee that was operated on last summer.
The French-Canadian press agency QMI reported that Markov could miss up to 8 months. Markov, 31, has one goal and two assists in seven games.
Before last night's contest, Senators goalie Brian Elliott was 4-0-0 with a 0.83 goals against-average, .969 save percentage and two shutouts. Elliott had allowed only three goals in his previous four appearances against the Flyers . . . The Flyers had a season-high 46 shots on goal . . . They are 8-0-0 when leading after the first period . . . Danny Briere has three goals and two assists since his suspension ended . . . Mike Richards' shorthanded goal was the 22nd of his career, moving him to fifth all-time on the Flyers' list, ahead of Rick MacLeish. *
For more news and analysis, read Frank Seravalli's blog, Frequent Flyers, at
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