NHL points leader Jake Voracek has lifted the Flyers recently.
By Jack Ryan
The Flyers put their three-game winning streak on the line tonight in Nashville, and they will be up against more than the hottest team in the Western Conference.
They will also be facing their former coach who would like to exact some revenge for being fired only three games into last season..
Peter Laviolette now gets to show his previous employer how good of a job he is doing.
Philly (14-14-6) was outscored 9-3 in losing its first three games of 2013-14. That slow start was enough for Paul Holmgren, the club’s general manager at the time, to decide to get rid of the coach who guided the Flyers to the 2010 Stanley Cup finals.
Holmgren, who has since been promoted to team president, said that Philly had a poor training camp and didn’t “look like a team at all” in explaining his rationale.
Laviolette’s assistant, Craig Berube, took over and remains the Flyers coach.
Nashville (22-9-2) hired Laviolette on May 6. The surprising Predators have the Western Conference’s third-best record as they try to reach the playoffs for the first time in three seasons.
The Flyers, meanwhile, have been among the NHL’s biggest disappointments as they sit outside the East’s postseason picture. There are signs, however, that Philly is poised to surge.
Led by red-hot play by a top line that includes NHL points leader Jakub Voracek and captain Claude Giroux, the Flyers have matched their longest win streak of the season by starting an eight-game road stretch with three victories.
”It’s always nice to get the first six points on a road trip and we’ll go home and enjoy our families and be ready when we come back,” winger Wayne Simmonds said.
Philly has scored 16 goals in the last three games, with Voracek totaling eight points to give him 46 overall.
Not far behind him is Giroux, who is third in the league with 41 points – six in this win streak. These players are first and second in assists, with 32 for Voracek and 30 for Giroux.
“We’re trying not to look at the big picture,” Giroux said. “Try to go game-by-game. Right now, we’re focused on Nashville.”
Vincent Lecavalier has scored three times in his last two games, with his fifth goal in Tuesday’s 5-2 victory over Minnesota.
With Steve Mason out with an upper-body injury, Berube figures to start Ray Emery – whose 3.71 road goals-against average is the league’s fifth-worst mark. His 3.57 GAA against Nashville is his fourth-worst against any club.