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Flyers getting contributions from secondary lines

Claude Giroux, Jake Voracek still carry bulk of the scoring load, but other Flyers are finally finding the back of the net.

Flyers right wing Wayne Simmonds yells at a referee as linesman Mark Shewchyk restrains him. (Kathy Willens/AP)
Flyers right wing Wayne Simmonds yells at a referee as linesman Mark Shewchyk restrains him. (Kathy Willens/AP)Read more

THE FLYERS have yet to win a game this season in which neither Claude Giroux nor Jake Voracek tallied at least a point.

But throughout the team's improved play over its last five games, it has started to get more secondary scoring.

"It's huge. We can't rely on just one line all year," said Sean Couturier, who carries a five-game point streak into today's 1 p.m. home game against the last-place Hurricanes.

"They're one of the best [lines] in the league, but they need some help some nights. It's nice to see lately most of the lines stepping up and coming together and producing offensively. It's good for the team."

With 35 and 32 points, respectively, Voracek (10 goals, 25 assists) and Giroux (eight goals, 24 assists) entered last night's slate of games ranked second and sixth among the NHL's top point-getters. But since the Flyers (10-13-5) took the ice in San Jose 11 days ago, 11 of the team's last 13 goals have come from players not named Voracek or Giroux.

Simmonds, who scored his team-leading 12th goal in Thursday's 4-1 win over the Devils, has four of those. Two others came from Brayden Schenn in Tuesday's overtime loss at Columbus. First-line left wing Michael Raffl scored in the shootout loss at Anaheim. R.J. Umberger, Couturier and Matt Read have also buried pucks in the back of the net in recent games.

Couturier and Read combined for four points and a plus-4 in Thursday's win. Consider it a positive sign for the orange and black.

"If you want to win, especially later on in the playoffs, you need all four lines to chip in," Voracek said. "If you look at the LA Kings or Boston or Chicago [in recent seasons], all four lines were scoring. It's really important.

"I wasn't worried about Reader or Coots. They've been around for a little bit. It was only a matter of time when they were going to get some goals."

Read's goal and assist Thursday gave the third-line right wing his first multipoint performance in a span of 31 games, a stretch that dated to April of last season. He went eight games this season between points, 11 between goals.

Couturier went 10 games between goals before his power-play goal in the Dec. 2 loss at San Jose. His first-period score on Thursday signified the Flyers' first shorthanded goal of the season.

Seven 20-goal scorers helped the Flyers make the playoffs last season. Five Flyers - Simmonds, Voracek, Giroux, Schenn and Raffl - are on pace to reach that benchmark this season.

"We're playing better hockey. We're playing the right way," said Couturier, who has six goals and eight assists on the season. "We're not waiting or hoping for something to happen or cheating offensively. We're doing all the right little things.

"Right now we're learning how to win those tight hockey games, those 2-1, 3-2 games. Those are the big games where you need to win. You're not going to get a blowout win every night. I think that's the difference lately. We're competing every game, and we're finding a way to win some games."

In addition to receiving more scoring throughout the lineup, Simmonds noted the team is playing much better defensively in its recent stretch. Thursday's triumph saw the Flyers surrender only 18 shots on goal, their best mark in almost an entire calendar year.

"You start in your defensive zone, you get pucks out and you're good on the backcheck and you can easily transition and get pucks deep and then go to work," Simmonds said. "I think everyone's been doing a good job of that as of late."

Slap shots

When the Flyers took the ice for their practice yesterday at the Skate Zone in Voorhees, embattled veteran Vincent Lecavalier was not among them. General manager Ron Hextall later revealed that Lecavalier, a healthy scratch the last five games, has what the team is calling a "tweaked lower-body injury." The center-turned-right wing's injury is day-to-day, according to the Flyers . . . Center Ryan White was cleared for contact Wednesday morning and is getting closer to a return to game action. The first-year Flyer underwent surgery in August to repair his left pectoralis muscle, an injury he suffered bench-pressing during an offseason workout back in his hometown of Brandon, Manitoba. Upon his readiness, it's unclear whether he'd stay with the NHL club or report to the Phantoms . . .

Figure this: Steve Mason, in 19 games, has a 2.69 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage. Ray Emery, in 11 games, has a 3.04 GAA and a .899 save percentage. But those stats aside, both of the Flyers' goaltenders have five wins on the season . . . Carolina enters today on a four-game losing streak . . . Seven of the Flyers' 10 wins have come at the Wells Fargo Center . . . With Jimmy Rollins headed to the Dodgers, Braydon Coburn is the eighth-longest tenured Philadelphia athlete among the city's main four pro sports teams.