Saturday, February 13, 2010

Flyers enter the Olympic break on good footing after crushing the Canadiens

(AP Photo/The Canadian Press,Graham Hughes)
As recently as a week ago, the Flyers were playing such uninspired hockey that they probably couldn't wait for the two week Olympic break. Now, after four straight wins against teams in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, the Flyers probably don't want to stop playing and risk ending their hot streak.

After sweeping the Devils last week in a home and home series, the Flyers repeated that feat today after followed up yesterday's win in Philadelphia with a 6-2 beatdown of the Canadiens in Montreal. The star of the game was Danny Briere, who, much to the chagrin of the Montreal crowd, broke out of his slumber to register a hat trick. Briere stuck it to the Canadiens fans who boo him lustily every time he touched the puck by netting his first hat trick of the season.

The Flyers also got goals on the night from Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and Blair Betts. Suddenly, the Flyers offense that had gone ice cold in recent games is brimming with hot hands. There's Richards, who scored his 2nd goal in 4 games, and Carter, who has 5 goals in 4 games, to go with Briere and Simon Gagne, who appear to be breaking out of season-long slumps. All of the Flyers top forwards are contributing right now, an excellent sign that this team has turned things around.

Oh, and Jeff Carter haters? The man has been on a tear recently, scoring 11 goals in his last 14 games. I think all of you who have been screaming for him to be traded and that he "has no heart" can be quiet now. Carter is rapidly rising up the leader board in the NHL in goals and is proving why the Flyers aren't willing to trade him. Yeah, the guy can be inconsistent but you can put up with the lulls because you know he has goal outbursts like this in him.

The Flyers now enter the Olympic break solidly in the playoff hunt. With the recent wins over the Canadiens, the Flyers have leapfrogged them and moved into 6th place in the Eastern Conference. With 22 games left after the break, it's going to be a sprint to the finish for the Flyers as they look to move up into an even better position. If this hot streak somehow carries over to March then the Flyers will try to make a late push for a top seed.

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