After their franchise-worst 1-7 start, the Flyers have regrouped, going 13-8-3 and moving to within two points of an Eastern Conference playoff spot.

"They seem to play with a lot more confidence. I find it's almost their attitude, they just seem a little bit more lively," said center Danny Briere after his Montreal Canadiens were defeated by his ex-teammates, 2-1, on Thursday.

In the season's second game, Montreal whipped the Flyers, 4-1.

The Flyers' win Thursday ended a three-game losing streak and came one night after an embarrassing 7-2 defeat in Chicago against the defending Stanley Cup champions.

The Flyers tightened their defense against the Canadiens.

"They played hard, they played like they had something to be forgiven [for]," Briere said.

"We did a good job with the five-on-five," Flyers winger Jake Voracek said.

It was an about-face from the recently completed, 2-3-1 road trip, during which the Flyers were outscored, 17-8, while in even-strength situations. They were outscored in those situations, 4-0, by the Blackhawks.

"They certainly were not happy about that loss in Chicago because they wanted to show they could compete with that team," coach Craig Berube said. "It didn't work out the way they wanted it to, but there was a lot of character and a good win [Thursday]. They showed up and played a good team game."

The Flyers on Sunday afternoon will get a chance to avenge their most lopsided loss of the season, a 7-0 defeat on Nov. 1 against visiting Washington, which played the game without injured superstar Alex Ovechkin.

That was the game in which Flyers goalie Ray Emery, inexplicably, was named one of the game's three stars after allowing four goals on 15 shots and attacking Capitals goalie Braden Holtby during a third-period scrum that included four almost-simultaneous fights. The Flyers subsequently banned the writer from making "star" selections the rest of the season.

In that loss, the Flyers were assessed 18 penalties that totaled 99 minutes, and two of their players - Steve Downie and Vinnie Lecavalier - were injured in fights that caused them to miss some subsequent games.

Breakaways. The NHL fined Flyers forward Brayden Schenn $2,230.77, the maximum permitted under the collective bargaining agreement, for cross-checking Chicago's Kris Versteeg on Wednesday. No penalty was called on the play. . . . The Flyers are 4-2 in the second half of games on consecutive nights

@BroadStBull