MONTREAL _ The Flyers have been thriving lately because of their defense.
On Saturday, they put it all together _ offense, defense, special teams.
In one of their best all-around performances since Peter Laviolette became the head coach, the Flyers defeated the Montreal Canadiens, 6-2, behind Danny Briere's fourth career hat trick.
Positive signs were everywhere. The defense, which received another strong performance from goalie Michael Leighton, has now allowed two or fewer goals in 11 of the last 12 games. The power play, which had been 1 for 22 in the previous five games, was 2 for 3 Saturday, and Blair Betts contributed a momentum-changing shorthanded goal.
Veteran right winger Ian Laperriere didn't score, but he contributed mightily, setting the tone by decking Ryan O'Byrne in a fight four seconds into the game.
“I really liked the fact that Lappy was physical right off the faceoff,” said Laviolette, whose team is 19-14-2 since he replaced John Stevens on Dec. 4. “He just went out and made it a point to let everyone know we were here to play.”
The Flyers have won four straight _ consecutive sweeps of New Jersey and Montreal _ as they head into the Olympic break.
To a man, the non-Olympian Flyers said they welcome the break _ and the chance to get some rest and spend 11 days with their families. They say they will be just as focused when play resumes.
Will the break kill their momentum? Or will they be able to continue rolling when they resume action by playing in Tampa on March 2?
Give us your opinions.
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It was the first time in franchise history the Flyers had won four straight with back-to-back, home-and-home sweeps, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.