As cold as they were at the start of the season, the Philadelphia Flyers are just as hot less than two months later.
Seeking their first seven-game winning streak in more than six years, the Flyers aim for a home-and-home sweep of the slumping Carolina Hurricanes Friday afternoon at the Wachovia Center.
Philadelphia (11-6-4) alternated winning and losing streaks through the first few weeks of 2008-09, opening with six consecutive defeats then winning four straight before dropping three in a row at the start of November.
The Flyers have been extremely tough to beat since, outscoring opponents 27-16 while winning seven of their last eight contests (7-0-1).
On Wednesday, Simon Gagne scored two goals and set up another in a 3-1 victory at Carolina (11-10-2) that propelled Philadelphia to its first six-game winning streak since Oct. 30-Nov. 12, 2005.
Another win against the Hurricanes would give the Flyers their first seven-game winning streak since reeling off eight in a row from Jan. 6-19, 2002, but they're making sure to keep their success in perspective.
"Party time? I don't know about that," defenseman Luca Sbisa said. "For sure, it's great to be on a winning streak instead of being on a losing streak. We didn't have a pretty good start to the season. ... Now we're sitting in the other boat."
Gagne leads the Flyers and ranks second in the NHL with 30 points. The nine-year veteran has five goals and 11 assists during a career-high nine-game point streak, and has six goals and three assists in his last six games versus the Hurricanes.
Strong defense has also been crucial to Philadelphia's surge, as netminders Martin Biron and Antero Niittymaki have yielded just 11 goals in the last six wins.
Niittymaki made 27 saves Wednesday, but Biron will likely start on Friday. Biron is 6-0-1 with a 2.26 GAA and a .935 save percentage in his last seven starts against Carolina.
The Hurricanes, meanwhile, have seen their offense score three goals or more just twice in the last nine games - six of them losses. Carolina's power-play unit finished 0-for-5 on Wednesday and has missed on 14 straight opportunities over its last four games.
"You can throw film out the window - I think execution and energy and heart and downright gritty work (are) where you're going to get it done," said winger Chad LaRose, who scored the Hurricanes' only goal on Wednesday.
Carolina likely doesn't want to see Philadelphia again soon, but the teams will match up twice more in 13 days following Friday's contest.
The Hurricanes have lost 10 of the last 15 games in this series. Carolina goalie Cam Ward is 2-4-1 with a 3.59 GAA in seven career matchups against the Flyers.