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Flyers' fourth line proves dominant in weekend play

Even with top scorers Jake Voracek and Claude Giroux, Flyers' fourth line helped boost team in key weekend wins.

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Flyers boast two of the top three scorers in the NHL. Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek combined for a staggering 11 points over the weekend.

Yet, you could make the argument that Craig Berube's most productive line in terms of sustaining offensive-zone time in victories in Winnipeg and Toronto was his fourth line.

The speed of center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and winger Chris VandeVelde was boosted by the skill of Vinny Lecavalier. The trio wreaked havoc on the Jets in the third period on Sunday night, including two goals to send the game to overtime.

"That line was really good for us," Berube said. "They gave us a lot of energy in the third period."

Berube might now want to rethink the possibility of putting Zac Rinaldo back into the mix tonight against the Wild. Rinaldo missed Sunday's game with an "upper-body" injury, but was only day-to-day.

According to, the Flyers' fourth line generated an average of nine shots attempts for and five shot attempts against during five-on-five play over the weekend. They also averaged about 9 minutes of ice time per game, with the Flyers finally flexing the muscles of their much-talked-about depth.

Berube's dust-up

Social media were ablaze yesterday with chatter about Craig Berube's exchange with Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien in the seconds following the Flyers' overtime win on Sunday night.

Cameras showed Byfuglien make a sharp U-turn near his bench and made a beeline for Berube, who was walking across the ice to the Flyers' locker room. The two traded verbal barbs, but Byfuglien was warded off by a linesman. It is believed Jake Voracek and Byfuglien were originally sparring before Berube piped up.

The entire sequence lasted less than 10 seconds.

Berube, who was not asked about it after the game by unaware reporters, did not comment yesterday. Byfuglien declined to talk about it with Winnipeg media.

From a sheer, get-your-popcorn entertainment standpoint, the thought of Berube squaring off against the 6-5 behemoth Byfuglien would be tremendous.

In reality, there was more action when then-Flyers coach Peter Laviolette shoved Stars player Steve Ott in a tunnel near the ice - which strangely occurred on the same day 3 years earlier (Dec. 21, 2011) in Dallas.

Slap shots

The Flyers expect to learn a more definitive timeline for goalie Steve Mason's injury today . . . Will Ray Emery be back in net tonight? Or will Craig Berube stick with Rob Zepp after a solid debut? . . . The Wild has lost four of five (1-2-2). The lone win was a shootout . . . The Flyers will try to avenge Nov. 20's last-second loss to the Wild at Wells Fargo Center . . . Jake Voracek earned the NHL's No. 2 star of the week. He posted seven points (three goals, four assists) in four games last week. Los Angeles' Anze Kopitar was No. 1. Voracek carried his points lead (44) into today, with Dallas' Tyler Seguin also idle . . . Yardley native and Germantown Academy grad Brian O'Neill was named the AHL's player of the week. O'Neill, 26, plays for the Manchester (N.H.) Monarchs, a Los Angeles Kings affiliate.