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NEW YEAR'S ROCKIN' EVE

Brayden Schenn scores three points to lead Flyers to fourth straight win

Wednesday, 01.1.2014 / 12:47 AM ET / News
By Anthony SanFilippo  - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter
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NEW YEAR\'S ROCKIN\' EVE

CALGARY, Alberta – Remember when the Flyers couldn’t score at least three goals per game?

Ancient history.

Remember when the Flyers couldn’t string together any semblance of a winning streak?

Forget it.

Remember when the Flyers were at the bottom of the standings and were being booed lustily by the fans who were vocally calling for everyone’s head?

That’s so 2013.

Now that it’s the New Year, this is a new team, playing with new confidence and surging further and further up the standings.

That run was continued Tuesday with yet another victory – 4-1 over the Flames – marking the first four-game winning streak of the season, improving to 6-1-1 in the last eight games, all of which they scored at least three goals.

The biggest part of that surge was attributed to the top line piling on the points as Claude Giroux, Jake Voracek and Michael Raffl found instant chemistry and carried the offense.

But, on this night, those three provided nary a point. And while Wayne Simmonds had been recently playing full steam ahead before having his point streak end in Vancouver, and Scott Hartnell started finding a renewed purpose playing down in the lineup, the third guy on their line – Brayden Schenn – was wallowing through a 16-game stretch with no goals and just six assists. Coach Craig Berube felt he was pressing and over-thinking.

Then, Schenn was Johnny-on-the-spot against the Canucks, scoring the tying goal in the final minute and there was a sense of relief.

Fast forward to Tuesday, when Schenn, playing in front of his parents Jeff and Rita and his sisters Madison and Macy as well as another 10 friends and family, had a breakout game.

He scored one goal, should have had a second were it not for a questionable call by the referee, and added two

It was a quiet night for Michael Raffl and the rest of the Flyers top line, but it didn't matter as Brayden Schenn, Scott Hartnell and the defense led the way to a 4-1 win.

assists for a three-point game to pace the offense in the win.

It was only his third multi-point game of the season, and first since Nov. 13. It was the third three-point game of his career and first since last Feb. 23.

“We’ve been playing pretty solid as a line for about five or six games,” said Hartnell, who also scored a goal (set up by both Brayden and Luke Schenn) and was a plus-3. “It’s nice to contribute to a big win. It can’t be [Giroux] every night. It can’t be Vinny [Lecavalier] every night. You have to spread the wealth around and we did that tonight.”

By defeating the Flames, the Flyers swept all three games in Western Canada for just the second time since Edmonton and Calgary entered the league in 1979. The only other time was in 1996-97.

But more importantly, the Flyers , who are now officially at .500 as far as winning percentage (20-16-4, 44 points) are not only holding onto that third and final guaranteed playoff position in the Metropolitan Division, but are getting into the conversation with some other teams ahead of them.

A cursory glance at the standings shows they are just one point behind Washington for second place in the Metro and just a point behind both Detroit and Toronto in the Wild Card hunt, and they’ll have two games in hand on both of them after they battle in the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day.

“We’re a good hockey team,” coach Craig Berube said. “We’ve gotten some solid goaltending and that’s the key.”

It was Ray Emery’s turn in Calgary and he snapped a personal four-game losing skid with a fine performance making 23 saves in the win.

He is 7-1 in his last eight starts against the Flames (two with the Flyers) with an 1.37 goals against average and a .948 save percentage.

“After the way we started the season, to be where we’re at, starting the New Year, I think we’ll take it,” Emery said. “I had four losses [in a row], so you better be sharp after a stretch like that. It’s part of the game. When you get in there, I’m just happy to get in there… [It felt good]. Not bad. It’s different, not playing too often, so you kind of keep it simple.”

The Flyers also continued to get offensive production from the blue line as the other two goals were scored by Mark Streit and Braydon Coburn. The Flyers defense has scored 11 goals in the last 12 games and Streit has started to break out with four goals and three assists for seven points in this eight game stretch.

Hartnell said the team responded to a meeting held by Berube prior to the road trip that changed the way the team approached playing in hostile territory. Berube doesn’t want to get into those details, but thinks the team has responded to the message.

“I think our team’s real confident right now,” Berube said. “I think they believe they can win games whether they have their best stuff or not. They’re finding ways to win because they’re a confident team right now.”

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

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 53 40 9 4 175 120 84
2 FLA 55 32 17 6 153 127 70
3 NYR 55 31 18 6 157 140 68
4 DET 55 28 18 9 138 134 65
5 NYI 53 29 18 6 150 131 64
6 TBL 54 30 20 4 144 130 64
7 BOS 54 29 19 6 159 148 64
8 PIT 54 28 19 7 139 136 63
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 CAR 55 24 21 10 131 143 58
11 MTL 56 27 25 4 151 151 58
12 PHI 53 24 20 9 127 138 57
13 OTT 56 25 25 6 157 173 56
14 BUF 56 22 28 6 131 155 50
15 CBJ 56 22 28 6 140 173 50
16 TOR 53 19 25 9 122 149 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Giroux 53 16 29 -8 45
J. Voracek 53 8 35 -3 43
W. Simmonds 53 20 16 -7 36
B. Schenn 51 15 15 1 30
S. Gostisbehere 35 9 20 4 29
S. Couturier 40 9 15 9 24
M. Read 51 9 9 -5 18
M. Raffl 53 7 7 5 14
S. Laughton 52 4 10 -7 14
M. Del Zotto 51 4 9 -8 13
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 13 14 7 .917 2.65
M. Neuvirth 11 6 2 .933 2.14
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