As the Flyers prepared for Wednesday's game against visiting Boston _ the teams' first meeting since the Philly version of Miracle on Ice last spring _ they spent about half of Tuesday's practice trying to improve their struggling power play.
The PP has been ultra-streaky this season. It was 3 for 35 in its first eight games (8.6 percent), then went 14 for 43 (32.6 percent) in its next 10 games. It is 2 for 33 (6.1 percent) in its last seven games _ and 2 for its last 34 overall.
Earlier in the week, coach Peter Laviolette had dropped broad hints that Nik Zherdev would see more time on the power play Wednesday. During Tuesday's practice in Voorhees, however, Zherdev was not on either PP unit.
One unit had Jeff Carter, Danny Briere and Scott Hartnell up front, with Andrej Meszaros and Matt Carle on the points. The other PP unit was composed of forwards Mike Richards, Ville Leino and Claude Giroux, along with blue liners Chris Pronger and Kimmo Timonen.
Timonen said the power play has been standing around too much in recent games.
"We have to start moving and working harder,” he said. “When you stop working, you’re going to lose battles. Simple as that.”
The Flyers also need to start shooting more. They have been trying to be too perfect instead of firing the puck and crashing the net for rebounds.
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Goalie Michael Leighton, rehabbing after back surgery, was sent to the AHL Phantoms for a six-day conditioning stint.
Leighton could play back-to-back games this weekend _ Saturday in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and Sunday in Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall against Albany.
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Twenty-eight soldiers from the Army, Navy and Air Force watched practice and met with the players afterward in the locker room. The men and women were from Fort Dix (Army), McGuire Air Force Base and the Lakehurst Naval Air Station.
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The Flyers will be honored as the team of the year during the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association's 107th annual banquet on Jan. 31 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cherry Hill.
The Philles had won the award the previous three years.
After needing a shoot-out victory in the final day of the regular season to earn a playoff berth, the Flyers went on one of the most amazing post-season runs in NHL history.
They won three playoff rounds _ and became the third team in NHL history (and fouth in any sport) to overcome a three games-to-none deficit as they jolted Boston _ en route to reaching the Stanley Cup Finals.
Winger Ian Laperriere, whose grit symbolized the Flyers' playoff resiliency, will accept the award. Laperriere is sidelined because of post-concussion syndrome.
The banquet also pays homage to the Phillies, Eagles and 76ers, along with collegiate teams and athletes.
Comic Joe Conklin is among the guests.
For ticket information, call 609-702-7473 or go to www.PSWA.org..
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