ERIC WELLWOOD is an elevator player.

That's not a crack at his seemingly incessant trips up and down between the Flyers and Phantoms throughout his career as he's gotten to see plenty of the scenic I-87 thruway this season.

Instead, in hockey speak, Wellwood is a player who can be seamlessly elevated from line to line without feeling out of place. For that, the left winger has made a mark and caught coach Peter Laviolette's eye during his current 11-game stint with the big boys.

Wellwood, 22, started on the Flyers' fourth line in early March. He skated with Danny Briere and Jake Voracek up on the second line for three straight games before bouncing back to play with Matt Read and Zac Rinaldo.

"Every game is a different game, it seems," Wellwood said. "One game I'm on the fourth line as an energy guy and the next I'm playing on the second like with Danny B. It's been changing, but I'll take whatever role they slot me in. They know I can play in any role. I think that's the player I am. Not that I'm highly skilled or anything, I just want to work hard and adapt."

For Wellwood, the transition hasn't been tough because when he is asked to score, he is just sliding back into the role he's used to when with the Phantoms. Wellwood has added four goals and two assists in 16 games with the Flyers this season. He has 49 points in 106 games with the Phantoms over the last two seasons.

"Every time he's been up here, he's done a nice job for us," Laviolette said recently. "He's smart, plays with speed and is a good checker."

Wellwood's speed is what has stood out to teammates.

"He's playing awfully well right now," Voracek said. "He's got a lot of speed. He can help push their defense back and allow us to cross the line easier. He's been a big part of our team since he's started playing."

His play, including dabbles on the penalty kill, has made him the Flyers' primary offensive replacement from Adirondack, beating out Harry Zolnierczyk who many thought to pin down that role for the first half of the season.

With James van Riemsdyk out for at least a few more weeks - at least until the playoffs start on April 11 - Wellwood's role could continue to grow.

Wellwood said he is finally beginning to react first and think second with his rookie jitters out of the way and nearly 20 NHL games under his belt.

"That comes with anybody," Wellwood said. "Your first couple games, you are always a little nervous. You want to make the right play. You don't want to do too much. I think the coaches have a lot of trust in me, and that gives me the confidence to step outside the box a little bit. Plus, I think those guys make me stand out. They deserve a lot of the credit."

Giroux streaking

With his sleek, toe-drag goal in the second period against the Capitals, Claude Giroux once again avoided going back-to-back games without a point.

Giroux has not had two consecutive point-less games since the All-Star break, Jan. 24-31, a streak that reached 25 games on Thursday night.

Although Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin added to his league-leading point total on Thursday with his 44th goal of the season, Giroux's consistent point-gathering has enabled him to keep up with Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos for second in the Art Ross Trophy race.

Giroux now has 27 goals and 58 assists in 70 games. His 85 points is the highest total of any Flyer since Mark Recchi's 91-point season in 1999-2000.

JVR sighting

James van Riemsdyk was hobbling around the Wells Fargo Center in crutches during Thursday's pregame skate. Van Riemsdyk had surgery on March 6 to repair a fractured bone in his left foot.

The Flyers say JVR is on schedule for a return to the lineup somewhere between April 3-17, though a comeback sounds more likely at the latter end of that timetable. The regular season ends on April 7 and the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs begins on April 11.