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Flyers know every game counts

By John McGourty - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Philadelphia Flyers can do the math. They look at the standings and know every point counts, whether it is at Madison Square Garden Wednesday night or at Fenway Park Friday in the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.

Coach Peter Laviolette was told his team needed to play .700 hockey to reach the minimum-points threshold of playoff qualifiers in recent past years. Laviolette said he won't look at it that way, rather focusing on one game at a time.

Danny Briere was asked if .700 hockey the rest of the way is out of the question, now that he, Simon Gagne, Blair Betts and Darroll Powe are healthy and goalie Ray Emery returns healed from abdominal surgery in late January.

One game at a time, Briere said, though not arguing with the premise.

"That's a dangerous game, if you start looking at it that way, that you have to win 4-out-of-5 the rest of the way," Briere said. "Take it one game at a time. It's small steps. Don't make things look bigger than they really are. The goal for us, always, is win the next game, win tonight. After we do that, start concentrating on the next game.

"I know this sounds like cliches, but there's a reason we speak in what sound like cliches, there's gotta be some truth to it. I think it's really difficult to think you have to play .700. It's a lot smarter to say, 'let's win tonight.' "

In that regard, Briere said the answers won't be changing much after the Winter Classic. It will still be one game at a time, even though he views the Winter Classic as a big event that he's looking forward to.

"The Winter Classic is going to be special in the sense that you have to enjoy it," Briere said. "It's going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You have to take it all in and enjoy it as much as possible. At the same time, it's still a big game for us. With the position we've put ourselves in, we have to win this game.

"I haven't really thought about what happens after the Winter Classic game because I haven't even really thought about the Winter Classic. We've been in such turmoil in the past month that I haven't really looked to far forward."

Riding the rails -- The Flyers are riding the rails this week. They took a train from Philadelphia to New York City Tuesday afternoon and they hired a private train to take them from Penn Station in New York to Boston Wednesday night, right after the game with the Rangers.

The days of a pro-sports team tearing up the town the night before a game are apparently over. The Flyers are a pretty staid bunch, it seems.

"Me and Danny Carcillo and a couple of other guys went to dinner at Nobu," Arron Asham said. "Then, we went back to my room and popped in a movie. Wild night, huh?"

Left wing Scott Hartnell wasn't buying it.

"'Ash' and Carcillo on the town in New York, a quiet night? No way," Hartnell said. "What about those two missing hours?"

"They were no missing hours," Asham pleaded.

Laviolette said he had time for dinner and then went to sleep.

General Manager Paul Holmgren wouldn't disclose the cost of the private train but said it was cost-effective in comparison to flying.

"By the time we get to the airport, go through security, fly to Boston, gather everything and everyone together, go through security again and drive into the city, it takes no longer to go by train. Plus, we get to relax and there's more room to roam around on a train," Holmgren said. "Taking the train isn't new to us. We take the train all the time to New York and Washington. This trip is just a little longer. It's certainly worth it, in my opinion."

Equipment Manager Harry Bricker was asked how he was going to get all the used equipment together and onto the train with such a short window between the game's end (expected to be around 9:30 p.m.) and the 10 p.m. departure.

"We're not taking the train. We're going up by truck," Bricker said. "The Rangers were kind enough to loan us their truck so that we can get up there at the usual time and be ready for Thursday's practice at Fenway Park."

Holmgren was asked how the Flyers got the Rangers to make such a generous offer and he laughed.

"Those equipment managers have their own fraternity," Holmgren said. "They're always looking to help each other. They're pretty good about that. We certainly appreciate it."