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CLEAN SWEEP

Giroux, Simmonds, Read and Voracek all have two points as Flyers down Islanders 5-2 for sweep of homestand.

Saturday, 11.23.2013 / 11:04 PM ET / News
By Anthony SanFilippo  - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter
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CLEAN SWEEP

PHILADELPHIA – Matt Read’s parents picked a good week to fly in for a visit.

But, now that things are going so well, the superstitious Read is thinking about some home remodeling.

“I think I’m going to have to clean out the guest room for them so they can move in,” he said.

When you’re scoring two goals a game, you do whatever you have to do to keep it rolling – even if it means having the folks move in.

It’s an arrangement Read would be more than happy to deal with now that the team is on a certified roll following a 5-2 win over the New York Islanders Saturday.

Vincent Lecavalier celebrates after assisting on Wayne Simmonds goal in the Flyers 5-2 win over the New York Islanders.

The Flyers swept all three games of the three game home stand, improved to 6-0-1 in the last seven games, and 9-3-2 since starting the year 1-7-0.

The long climb from that woeful start began exactly one month ago. Yet, in most people’s eyes the odds of them turning the season around this quickly, to be back to faux .500 (10-10-2) in 30 days were longer than seeing a unicorn pulling a sleigh full of bubbly sorority sisters eating kabobs in the Gobi Desert.

Yeah, that unrealistic.

At least it was to everyone save the most ardent of diehards, and the team itself.

“It’s been a great effort by the players,” said coach Craig Berube. “They listened, bought in and worked hard. They did all the right things. As a result we’ve won same games and got ourselves into a pretty good spot.”

And while Berube was referring to all his players, the line of Read, Sean Couturier and Steve Downie stood out yet again.

Read snapped a scoreless tie in the opening minute of the second period when he fired the rebound of a Couturier shot past Kevin Poulin for 1-0.

Read added the empty-netter at the end of the game too, and while that trio was on the ice - and they were on the ice more than any other Flyers line Saturday – the Islanders struggled to find any room to move, let alone generate anything resembling scoring chances.

“The Couturier line has been outstanding the last three or four games,” said Jake Voracek, who had two assists of his own. “They are playing unbelievably. That line is the best line in the NHL right now.”

That’s high praise from a teammate.

And while it’s hard to truly convince others that Voracek’s belief is correct, the fact that they are outplaying the top line of every team the Flyers come across on the schedule, could suggest that even if they aren’t the best, they’re certainly playing in that same, elite, rarified air as the best in the game.

The first goal was an igniter for the Flyers, who ended up pumping in three goals in 3:02 early in the second period.

Wayne Simmonds scored on a wrister from the right circle 59 seconds later to make it 2-0 and then Claude Giroux buried a slapper on another no-look pass from Simmonds on the power play for 3-0.

The power play has registered a tally in six straight games and has been clicking at 32 percent in that time.

Voracek got the secondary assists on Giroux’s goal and picked up another later on the insurance marker by Brayden Schenn. Voracek now has points in six of the last seven games.

The Islanders wouldn’t go away though and rebounded quickly, scoring two even strength goals to get back within one.

It was the first even strength goal allowed by the Flyers in 345 minutes, 39 seconds, the second longest streak in franchise history.

But once again, faced with adversity, the Flyers didn’t wilt.

Claude Giroux had a goal and an assist and now has eight points in the last seven games.

“A couple weeks ago when we would have that second goal scored against us we would have just, pardon my language, [messed] the bed. Right now though, we are very calm on the bench. We were able to forecheck and get that fourth goal, which was huge.”

Voracek made it happen with good work along the boards to be able to get the puck on net where Brayden Schenn was there to put in the rebound.

Steve Mason made 36 saves in another brilliant outing in goal and it marked the tenth consecutive game the Flyers allowed three goals or less, something they haven't done since February, 2011 and have only done 23 times in franchise history.

Read rounded it off and the Flyers suddenly find themselves just two points out of a playoff spot with a game in hand on the New York Rangers.

Heck, while they’re being all positive and feeling the mojo working, they’re only eight points out of first place with two games in hand on the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“I think the only way to look is up,” Read said. “You've got to put these last eight or nine games behind you and keep playing Philadelphia Flyers hockey, getting pucks deep, playing smart.

“If we keep playing the way we are it's going to be a hard night for another team to beat us.

“We've just got to keep playing the way we are, take control of games, and keep winning.”

In the meantime Matt, be sure to fluff the pillows in your guest room before you head out on the road.

To contact Anthony SanFilippo, email asanfilippo@comcast-spectacor.com or follow him on Twitter @InsideTheFlyers

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 52 39 9 4 171 117 82
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 53 30 18 5 150 135 65
4 NYI 52 28 18 6 145 129 62
5 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
6 DET 53 27 18 8 133 131 62
7 BOS 53 28 19 6 153 146 62
8 PIT 52 27 18 7 138 132 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
12 OTT 54 25 23 6 153 166 56
13 PHI 52 23 20 9 122 137 55
14 BUF 54 21 27 6 124 146 48
15 CBJ 55 21 28 6 137 170 48
16 TOR 52 19 24 9 120 144 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Giroux 52 16 29 -8 45
J. Voracek 52 8 34 -3 42
W. Simmonds 52 19 16 -7 35
B. Schenn 50 14 15 -2 29
S. Gostisbehere 34 9 19 3 28
S. Couturier 40 9 15 9 24
M. Read 51 9 9 -5 18
S. Laughton 52 4 10 -7 14
M. Del Zotto 50 4 9 -10 13
M. Raffl 52 6 6 2 12
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 12 14 7 .915 2.70
M. Neuvirth 11 6 2 .933 2.14
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