The Flyers’ 3-1 win over Toronto Sunday wasn’t artistic. Far from it.
But, hey, every game isn’t going to be a masterpiece. The Flyers happily took the two points and moved on.
After a slow start, they produced a grind-it-out victory that opened their four-game homestand.
“It wasn’t pretty, that’s for sure,” defenseman Chris Pronger said. “I don’t know if it’s a byproduct of the way Toronto plays or a product of how we played, but it was a little too up and down for my liking, and we obviously rebounded in the second period.”
The Flyers got goals from Jeff Carter (his 30th), Simon Gagne and Danny Briere.
After struggling through the first 15 minutes, “we got our legs underneath us, got going and got a couple of quick goals to get that lead and played a pretty good third period,” Pronger said.
The Flyers are 6-1-1 in their last eight games. Since the Olympic break ended, they are 2-1-1 but haven’t been nearly as sharp as they were before the layoff.
“I still don’t think we’re there, to be honest,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “We won that first game in Tampa Bay (after the layoff), but we didn’t play well against Florida. We came back and got a point in Buffalo, and we played a better game. Tonight I still think that there’s more gas we have.
“…Before the break we were going pretty good. You give guys 12 days off, now they have to come back and be back at that level, it’s difficult.”
The Flyers, who got a solid performance from goalie Michael Leighton (27 saves), play host to the lowly Islanders Tuesday.
“There are no easy games,” Laviolette said. “In fact, these are even more dangerous because you might take a little bit of a breath, and they’ve got nothing to lose.”
With the win, the sixth-seeded Flyers inched to within five points (with two games in hand) of fifth-seeded Ottawa in the Eastern Conference. The Flyers are seven points behind fading New Jersey, the fourth seed.
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Showing remarkable discipline and restraint, Flyers winger Danny Carcillo didn't react to Colton Orr's first-period cross check. Orr then punched Carcillo and was hit with an additional roughing minor.
Laviolette was pleased Carcillo didn't respond and that the Flyers went on the power play.
"You ask those guys to play on the edge, a guy like Danny Carcillo, to agitate, irritate, and to be effective in that job," Laviolette said. "It's a fine line that he has to walk, and I think he's done an excellent job."
After the game, Carcillo called Orr a "minor leaguer" and added, "I'm just never going to fight him. I mean, he plays three minutes a night, he doesn't really do anything unless somebody fights him. I kind of knew he was going to run me there, and then I sucked him into a few (penalties)."