Few teams have succeeded against the Philadelphia Flyers during the past five weeks. The Colorado Avalanche, though, has succeeded the last five times it has faced Philadelphia.
The surging Flyers try to end their recent futility against the Avalanche as the teams match up at the Wachovia Center on Tuesday night.
Philadelphia has won 12-of-16 games (12-1-3) since Nov. 11, collecting 27 of a possible 32 points in that stretch. Only Eastern Conference-leading Boston (13-2-1) has come away with as many points during the same span.
"The biggest thing in the last (16) games is that we are playing as a team," defenseman Kimmo Timonen said. "We're forechecking well, getting back, and everybody is working hard."
Timonen had a career-high four assists to help the Flyers (16-7-6) win their fourth straight, 6-3 over visiting Pittsburgh on Saturday, and jump past the Penguins for second place in the Atlantic Division, four points back of the New York Rangers.
Mike Knuble scored twice, while captain Mike Richards and Jeff Carter each contributed a goal and two assists for Philadelphia, which remained perfect entering the finale of its four-game homestand and improved to 7-0-2 in its last nine games at the Wachovia Center.
It's a remarkable turnaround after the Flyers opened the season with a six-game losing streak.
"We didn't expect to put this kind of a run together, but then again we didn't think that we deserved to start the season the way we did," said winger Joffrey Lupul, who added a goal and an assist versus Pittsburgh.
One of the losses during that sluggish start was a 5-2 defeat at Colorado (15-14-1) on Oct. 16, which dropped Philadelphia to 4-8-3 with four ties in the series since the Avalanche relocated from Quebec for the 1995-96 season. The Flyers have also lost their last five matchups (0-2-3) to the Avalanche, but feel confident they can halt the skid.
"We're a different team than when we faced them at that time," winger Simon Gagne, tied with Richards for the team lead with 34 points, told the Flyers' official Web site.
The Oct. 16 victory over the Flyers started a season-high five-game winning streak for the Avalanche, which now seeks its fourth win in five games overall.
Colorado kicked off its four-game road trip on a high note with a 3-2 win at reigning Stanley Cup champion Detroit on Monday, getting the decisive goal on Jordan Leopold's penalty shot.
"He was the guy we were comfortable that we could put in that situation," Colorado coach Tony Granato said of Leopold, who also had an assist.
Granato's club was boosted by a 34-save effort from Andrew Raycroft, who was making his first start in seven games. Raycroft stopped 16 shots against the Flyers in October to improve to 6-4-0 with a tie and a 2.30 goals-against average in 12 career matchups.
Regular Avalanche starter Peter Budaj has never faced Philadelphia.
The Avalanche has won eight of its last 10 visits (8-1-1) to Philadelphia.