Everything seems to be going well for the Flyers right now. The goaltending has been superb, as it has been all season. The big surprise is that the offense has scored 27 goals in the last seven games after scoring just 22 in the first 15 games. A big part of the offensive success of late has come from Matt Read, the former Bemidji State standout.
In his last three games, he has totaled five points on four goals and an assist, with two of those goals coming against the Islanders on Saturday evening at the Wells Fargo Center. He has had his way with the Islanders in his career, totaling 12 points against them in 3 years, including seven goals.
"It's a little bit of luck," Read, 27, said of his recent offense. "Being in the right spot at the right time. My linemates are doing the work and I am benefiting from them. I give all the credit to those two, and we will keep working together and we can continue to have success."
In his third year in the NHL, Read has accumulated 82 points, all of them coming with the Flyers. His success on offense this year has come somewhat of a surprise. He is on a line with Sean Couturier and Steve Downie, which has been labeled more of a defensive line.
"For us three, we are just trying to keep it simple," Read said. "Get pucks deep, cycle and get pucks to the net and outwork the team in their zone. Or if we are playing their top line, they can't score in their defensive zone so we concentrate on getting the pucks deep and going from there."
Their line has combined for 14 points in the last three games, and they are plus-18 when on the ice in that three-game winning streak. While they may not be known as offensive powers, they do not mind the attention.
When asked if he was tired of answering questions about his line's offense, Read said, "I can't say I'm tired of it because if we weren't scoring I would be mad. I've been having fun the past couple of games with those guys and we have been producing goals. At the same time we have been keeping their top line off the board, which is our job. If we are plus players at the end of the night, our team is going to succeed."
The Flyers have to leave the comforts of home to keep their momentum going. They take their hot offense to the warmth of Florida for a two-game road trip that includes the Florida Panthers today and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday.
The Panthers are not a powerhouse, especially defensively. They are eighth in the Atlantic Division, and give up 3.17 goals per game, tied for fourth-worst in the league. Just 2 days later, they play one of the better teams in the Atlantic Division in Tampa Bay.
"You can't take a night off," Read said of the road trip. "We are back to .500, but that means nothing right now. We still have 60-something games, or a little less than that left and we just have to keep playing smart hockey. It doesn't matter if you are at home or on the road. It is the same, simple, get pucks deep, play good defense mentality, and we will keep winning games."
The Flyers are now fifth in the Metropolitan Division, and sit just two points behind the third-place Rangers. They could find themselves in a much better position when they return from Florida later this week.