Flyers keep rolling

   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.

   Enough said.

    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.