By Jack Ryan
The Flyers are on a roll.
Especially when compared with their Wells Fargo Center cousin Sixers.
Wayne Simmonds (photo above) and Sean Couturier have broken out of extended slumps, and the Flyers hope Matt Read keeps doing the same Saturday afternoon when they host the spiraling Carolina Hurricanes.
Philly is 10-13-5, 13th in the Eastern Conference, but they have gained a point in a season-high four straight games as Simmonds has re-emerged with four goals in that 2-0-2 stretch. The team leader with 12 goals, Simmonds had scored once in the previous 10 games with a minus-7 rating as the Flyers went 1-8-1.
Couturier, the third-line center who had a career-high 39 points last season, had only eight through his first 23 games and none in the final seven games of November. He’s come alive this month with a five-game point streak, netting the Flyers’ first short-handed goal of the season and adding an assist in Thursday’s 4-1 win over New Jersey.
The more notable performance came from Read, a fellow fourth-year forward and Courturier’s linemate. He also had a goal and an assist after going eight straight games without one of either, notching his first multipoint game of the season.
“I just keep shooting pucks, getting in front of the net, getting in the hard areas,” said Read, who has three goals through 28 games after scoring 22 last season. “Things kind of bounced my way tonight.”
Coach Craig Berube is counting on Courturier and Read to keep producing.
“I don’t think they were pressing. To me it’s about speed and shooting the puck and the attack mentality,” he said. “… When they have the puck they gotta make something happen.”
Philly’s power play is among the league leaders at 23.2 percent, scoring one in six consecutive games, but its penalty kill is one of the worst (74.2 percent).