Flyers need to find scoring center

Danny Briere , kneeling on the ice during pregame warmups, hasn't scored in more than a month.      YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Danny Briere , kneeling on the ice during pregame warmups, hasn't scored in more than a month.      YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Posted: March 24, 2013

Other than Claude Giroux, the Flyers have not received much production from their centers this season. That will have to change or they will miss the playoffs for just the second time in the last 18 seasons.

The Flyers, who are finishing a five-day break in the schedule, return to the ice Sunday night in Pittsburgh, where they emerged with a wild 6-5 victory last month.

They need to get their struggling centers untracked.

Danny Briere and Brayden Schenn, who have alternated between center and wing, are in goal-scoring droughts. Ditto center Sean Couturier (22 in a row without a goal) and center/winger Ruslan Fedetenko, who is goal-less in his last 25 games.

The Flyers who have played center this season are a combined minus-37.

Briere, 35, has gone 13 games without a goal and is minus-13 this season. Couturier and Schenn (goal-less in his last 10) are second-year players going through growing pains.

The slumps have played a major part in the Flyers' tumble toward the bottom of the Eastern Conference. Only Florida has a worse record in the East.

"We need to win games and get going on a roll here before time cuts us short," coach Peter Laviolette told reporters after Friday's practice in Voorhees.

After playing in Pittsburgh, the Flyers have five straight home games. They are five points out of the eighth and final playoff spot with 18 games left in the shortened season.

At Friday's practice, Briere was demoted to a line with Max Talbot and Scott Hartnell, another demotee who has been replaced on the top unit by Matt Read.

"Collectively, everyone needs to play better," said Hartnell, who has two goals in 14 games.

Though not as productive as last year, Giroux has 27 points, trailing only winger Jake Voracek (31) on the Flyers.

Giroux, the Flyers' first-year captain, said the Flyers can do all the talking they want, but that won't get it done.

"It's not about speech. It's about going on the ice and working as hard as you can to compete," he said.

Breakaways. The Flyers are 1-2 against the Penguins this season. . . . Twenty military members representing five branches - all stationed at McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst - visited the Flyers' locker room after practice and posed for photos with players.

Contact Sam Carchidi at Follow on Twitetr@BroadStBull.

Matt Breen contributed to this report.

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