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03-21-2010, 12:22 PM
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A Fistful of Dollars
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So stop fretting about Boucher. Turn your concerns to these areas:

The system.

When the Flyers have their two-man forecheck working, when they play an aggressive style that tilts the time of possession in their favor - a trademark since Peter Laviolette became the head coach - they usually win games.

The system was working well before the Olympic break (witness consecutive home-and-home sweeps of New Jersey and Montreal), but hasn't been as sharp in the last two weeks.

The penalty kill.

The penalty-killing units have been solid during the last seven weeks but have had periods of inconsistent play throughout the season. Overall, the Flyers rank 19th out of 30 teams with an 81.3 percent success rate on the penalty kill. That needs to improve in the playoffs.

The up-and-down offense.

Sparked by a potent power play, the Flyers began the weekend tied for sixth in goals per game (2.94). But there are too many nights when the even-strength attack is stagnant. The Flyers are just tied for 19th in the league with 120 goals in five-on-five situations.

Simon Gagne's revival - eight goals in his last 10 games before last night - has helped energize the offense. Now they need Scott Hartnell (three goals in his last 24 games), James van Riemsdyk (two goals in his last 21), and Claude Giroux (two goals in his last 16) to get untracked

For the Flyers, there have been positive signs lately that should bode well for the playoffs.

Among them: The team's penchant for comebacks.

Until the last six weeks, the Flyers showed little heart when they faced a deficit. When they fell behind, they usually stayed there.

Through Feb. 6, they were 5-25 in games in which they trailed at any point.

Since then, they are 7-3-1 in games in which they have trailed, including Thursday's 3-2 win in Dallas.

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