Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Flyers switching all 4 lines

Flyers coach John Stevens made changes on all four lines during practice Thursday in Voorhees, a move he hopes will pay dividends Friday in Buffalo, where they will face the desperate Sabres .

Flyers switching all 4 lines

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     Flyers coach John Stevens made changes on all four lines during practice Thursday in Voorhees, a move he hopes will pay dividends Friday in Buffalo, where they will face the desperate Sabres .

      The changes were made to get Danny Briere more involved in the offense and to create more balance among the lines.

      Here is how the lines will look:

    ** Scott Hartnell-Jeff Carter-Briere.

    ** Simon Gagne-Claude Giroux-Mike Knuble.

    ** Daniel Carcillo-Mike Richards-Joffrey Lupul.

    ** Riley Cote-Darroll Powe-Arron Asham.

    For most of the season, the Flyers' first two lines have remained intact _ Richards centering Gagne and Knuble, and Carter centering Hartnell and Lupul.

    All six of those players have more than 20 goals.

    In the new set-up, each of the top three lines will have a pair of 20-plus goal scorers.

     "I think it forces you to focus a little more," Stevens said of the line changes, "and maybe communicate a little more. And maybe while you're sitting on the bench, talk about things a little more."

     Briere has been playing mostly on the fourth line since he returned to the lineup four games ago. Sidelined by groin and abdominal injuries for most of the season, Briere started to show positive signs in Tuesday's 3-2 loss in Detroit as he created a handful of scoring chances.

    "Nothing says he won't go back to the old combinations in a couple games, but he's just trying to find something new," Lupul said. "And sometimes it's good to shake things up. Guys get a little too comfortable in one situation."

     The Flyers have lost three of their last four games, during which they have not spent much time in their opponents' end. In those three losses, they have scored a total of four goals.

       The Flyers are tied for the No. 4 seeding in the East, but were just six points ahead of No. 9 Florida heading into Thursday night.

     If they don't get their act together quickly, they might have to huff and puff just to qualify for the playoffs. Like last year.

    "We have to start winning games," Hartnell said. "It's crunch time for us." 

Inquirer Staff Writer
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