Wayne Simmonds and his line are giving the Flyers scoring depth.
Simmonds has five goals and seven points in his last four games, including back-to-back games with two goals. During that time, the Flyers have gone 3-1-0 and have scored 17 goals, better than four tallies per game.
Simmonds has gotten hot after being put on a line with Brayden Schenn and Scott Hartnell.
Coach Craig Berube sees the value of this new trio and knows what the secret is to their success. "Hard work," Berube told Frank Seravalli of the Philadelphia Daily News after the win over the Minnesota Wild. "I thought they were real good tonight because all three of them worked hard together. For that line to be successful, they all need to work. They all need to play a power game."
The Flyers have struggled to get scoring from more than one line at a time throughout the first half of the season. Now they are finally getting production throughout the lineup. As a result, the team has climbed from near the bottom of the league in goals per game to 19th with a season average of 2.46 goals per game.
The top line of Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek and Michael Raffl remains hot. The three know how important Simmonds and company have been to their recent success. "I wouldn't call that secondary scoring," Voracek explained to Seravalli. "If everyone is going to chip in like we've done the last few games, we are going to be a very dangerous team."
When more than one line is scoring consistently, it becomes tougher for opposing coaches to match lines and decide against whom to play their best defensemen and checking forwards.
The Flyers have been especially dangerous recently at home.
They have a nine-game winning streak in front of friendly fans and have scored 36 goals in those games. In its last nine road games, Philadelphia is just 2-5-2 and has scored only 25 goals. With a six-game road trip coming up, the Flyers need Simmonds and his linemates to produce away from home as well.
Nevertheless, the Flyers are now 17-16-4 on the season and in third place in the Metropolitan Division. If the season ended today, they would be in the playoffs.
Not bad for a team that started the campaign 1-7-0.
"To be over .500 after our start, I don't think anybody expected us to be here," Voracek told Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer. "It's a big step. We just have to start climbing in the standings because from now on, every game is huge."
If the Flyers want to continue performing at a playoff pace, they will need consistent production from more than just one line. The recent collective performance of Simmonds, Hartnell and Brayden Schenn is a very encouraging sign for the future.