POWE/BETTS/LEIGHTON - WHO KNEW?
Mike Richards? Jeff Carter? Simon Gagne? Scott Hartnell? Chris Pronger? Ray Emery? Danny Briere?
Any or all would have made perfect sense.
But, if I told you it was Darroll Powe, Blair Betts and Michael Leighton, you would have told me I was "crazier than an (out)house rat."
(Bonus points if you can tell me the movie that line was from.)
Yet, they've been the catalysts for this 8-1-1 run that have vaulted the Flyers from 13th in the conference to seventh and only three points out of fifth.
Powe had a goal and an assist against Dallas Tuesday and Leighton had 27 saves to improve to 8-0-1 as a Flyers starter this season.
Meanwhile, Betts has fueled a penalty kill that has stopped 21 straight power plays and 35 of the last 37.
"I just got back when the team started to get rolling," said Powe, downplaying the coincidence of his return and the Flyers turnaround. "We had to learn a new system and it's just clicking right now."
But, Powe is more important than one would imagine to this roster.
“Well, when you talk about skating and speed, he brings that element in a lot of different areas," coach Peter Laviolette said about Powe. "He brings it on the forecheck, the penalty kill… defensively, he’s solid. When you’re strong down the middle, I think you become a stronger hockey team. So when you add [Blair] Betts and [Darroll] Powe down the middle to [Mike] Richards and [Jeff] Carter, you’ve got a good strength down the middle. Having Darroll back, as well as Blair, has been helpful in a lot of different areas.”
As for Leighton, how do you take the guy out at this point? He's been sensational. I think Laviolette will ride him until the hot streak ends, or until the schedule becomes more demanding, whichever comes first.
All said, the Flyers are playing their best hockey of the season right now, and if they can maintain some semblance of it the rest of the way, maybe the expectations weren't too high at the beginning of the season.
14 different Flyers registered at least one point in this win over Dallas. That's the first time since 12/31/97.
For some good little trivia, here are the 14 players who got a point in that game, an 8-0 win over Vancouver:
Trent Klatt, Rod Brind'Amour, Eric Lindros, Pat Falloon, Luke Richardson, Chris Gratton, John LeClair, Paul Coffey, Colin Forbes, Eric Desjardins, Daniel Lacroix, Janne Niinimaa, Vaclav Prospal and Shjon Podein.
Some other newsy notes:
* With the win, the Flyers currently own a 23-19-3 record and have 49 points, which puts them in seventh place in the Eastern Conference… At Home, they now have a 12-9-2 record.
* The Flyers currently have a four-game winning streak, where they have out scored the opposition by a combined score of 23-10… They have also gone 8-1-1 in their last 10 games, earning 17 out of a possible 20 points in the standings and have averaged 5.75 goals-per game in that span.
* During that span, the Flyers have scored the first goal in all 10 of those contests, in addition to recording a goal in the first period in 8 of those contests (5 of which have been multi-goal periods) the Flyers have allowed a goal in the first period in just 2 of the 10 games and have held them scoreless in 27 of 45 games on the season.
* The Flyers power play has scored a combined nine goals in the last five games, having gone 9-for-17 (52.9%) on the man advantage.
* The Flyers had 14 players record at least a point in tonight’s contest, marking the first time the Flyers have had 14 players or more record a point in game since Dec. 31, 1997 in an 8-0 win at Vancouver.
* Ian Laperriere has recorded at least a point in four of his last five games – 5 points (2G,3A)… He also recorded the first “Gordie Howe Hat Trick” for the Flyers since Mar. 28, 2008 at NJ (Randy Jones - 1G,1A, 1 fighting major)
* Mike Richards has a five-game point streak in which he has six points (3G,3A) and at least a point in eight of last 10 games - 12 points (6G,6A).
* Jeff Carter has recorded at least a point in seven of last 10 games for 11 points (4G,7A).
* Chris Pronger has points in five straight games, posting seven points (1G,7A) in that span, while also recording at least a point in nine of his last 12 games – 12 points (2G,10A).
* Simon Gagne has a five-game assist and point streak, where he has posted six points (1G,5A)… He also has 13 points (5G,8A) in 12 games since his return from injury on Dec. 19.
* Danny Briere has at least a point in seven of his last nine games for 11 points (5G,6A) in that span.
* Rookie James van Riemsdyk has at least a point in four of his last five games, posting seven points (3G,4A).