Michael Del Zotto has gone from odd man out to being one of the Flyers' most useful defensemen.

He has gone from being a healthy scratch 11 times to being a player whom general manager Ron Hextall figures to re-sign and be a big part of the blue line's future.

Del Zotto, 24, signed as a free agent for $1.3 million in August after the Flyers learned Kimmo Timonen would be sidelined by blood clots, scored the only goal Saturday in a 1-0 win over Toronto. He has a career-best six-game point streak, during which he has three goals and four assists.

"Things just seem to be going in for me now," Del Zotto, who will become a restricted free agent after the season and wants to remain here, said after the Flyers' fourth straight victory. "I've said it all year that I've been happy with the way I've been playing. I've been playing confident and playing reliable in my own end - and playing hard, physical and taking advantage of the opportunities when they come offensively."

Earlier in the season, Del Zotto played too much one-on-one with the puck, according to coach Craig Berube.

"One thing we talked about was getting too aggressive and leading the rush," Del Zotto said. "I think especially when you're playing big minutes against the other teams' top lines, you have to be careful when you're joining, because if you do get caught, it's their top guys coming the other way with the odd-man rushes.

"So it's just a matter of making good reads, and the guys have been finding me and it's been working lately."

Berube, whose team hosts the Islanders on Thursday, said he likes the way Del Zotto has improved his checking.

"He's tenacious in there and gets on people defensively; he's got a good stick," Berube said Sunday after practice in Voorhees. "And he drives the rush and creates good decisions with the puck. All-around, he's playing well."

On Saturday, Del Zotto joined the rush, took a perfect pass from Petr Straka, and controlled the puck while surrounded by two defenders before lifting a point-blank shot over goalie James Reimer.

Despite winning four in a row, the Flyers (22-22-7) are still nine points out of the last Eastern Conference playoff spot with 31 games remaining. Winger Jake Voracek thinks 95 points would get the Flyers into the playoffs.

"Three or four games ago, we had to win 24 or 25 games or something like that," Voracek said. "Now, we have 20 or 21 to go. We have got to go game by game. We can't just look too much ahead. We know how many points we're out and how many points the other teams have. We have just got to keep grinding. Like I said, it's all in our hands."

The Flyers have a 3.3 percent chance of making the playoffs, up from 0.7 percent last week, according to Sports Club Stats.