If the Flyers are going to become a legitimate Stanley Cup contender, they need their top-6 forwards to step up. Quickly.
With that in mind, coach Peter Laviolette made a minor line change at Friday's practice, trying to jump-start his top two lines.
Scott Hartnell and Darroll Powe changed lines. Hartnell went to right wing on Mike Richards' unit, and Powe moved to left wing on Jeff Carter's line.
Five forwards on the first two lines _ Hartnell, Simon Gagne, Danny Briere, Richards and Powe _ are struggling mightily. (Read more about it in Saturday's Inquirer.) Carter is the lone top-6 forward who has been productive lately.
Laviolette also said goalie Ray Emery would get his seventh straight start Saturday when the Flyers face the visiting New York Islanders at 1 p.m. Emery is 3-3 with a 2.69 GAA since returning from an abdominal injury.
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Nobody asked me, but....
Speaking of lines, as this space has suggested before, I would take a look at a French Connection unit that has Claude Giroux centering Briere and Gagne. On the second line, I'd see if Richards centering Hartnell and Carter worked. Third line: JVR-Powe-Asham. Fourth line: Carcillo-Betts-Laperriere.
Carcillo, Betts and JVR lead the Flyers' forwards in the plus-minus ratings; each is plus-6.
What are your suggestions for the best line combinations?