It was a grinding, inartistc win _ the type the Flyers weren't getting too often until their current 7-1-1 surge.
The Flyers outlasted Tampa Bay Saturday, 4-1, as Blair Betts scored two goals, the penalty-killing was flawless, and Michael Leighton made 17 saves and improved to 7-0-1.
With the win, the Flyers moved to within one point of eighth-seeded Montreal in the East; the Flyers have three games in hand on the Habs.
Defenseman Chris Pronger continued his impressive play; he had an assst, was plus-2 and had four shots on goal.
Afterward, Pronger praised Betts for his workmanlike effort. Besides his two goals _ one an empty-netter _ Betts helped the Flyers kill all five Tampa power plays.
Pronger, who is a team-best plus-18, called Betts "a selfless guy who’s going to throw his body in front of everything. He’s good on draws, and that’s what you’re looking for in a penalty killer, somebody who’s going to sacrifice himself, and especially a centerman who can win draws. That kills 15, 20 seconds right there, just getting the puck down the ice."
Added Pronger: "It’s a big addition having him back healthy and contributing to the team, and obviously he’s chipping in offensively – it makes it a lot easier, too.”
The Flyers are 17-6-2 with Betts in the lineup, and 5-13-1 without him.
Breakaways. Simon Gagne collected his 500th career point....Ray Emery, sent to AHL Adirondack to get into condition, made 12 saves and was the loser as the Phantoms dropped a 2-1 decision to Portland Saturday.....The Flyers are averaging 4.3 goals per game during their 7-1-1 run. They had averaged 2.7 goals per game in their first 35 contests …..Flyers winger Riley Cote, saying he was “turning over a new leaf,” had his long locks cut…..Eight NHL players made The Sporting News’ all-decade team with three different teams, including Pronger and Danny Briere. The others: Marc Savard, Jaromir Jagr, Nikolai Khabibulin, Andrew Brunette, Jason Arnott and Rob Blake...Darroll Powe had a game-high five hits....The Flyers' Wives Fight for Lives Carnival is at the Wachovia Center Sunday, starting at noon. It has raised over $22 million for Philadelphia-area charities over the years.