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Smiling Flyers surging, more comfortable for Berube

by Adam Kimelman

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers had a full and happy group on the ice Saturday morning as they got ready for their game against the visiting New York Islanders.

Winning five of six like the Flyers have generally puts a smile on people's faces.

"When you're winning it's definitely a better atmosphere," Flyers center Vincent Lecavalier said. "I think we're having a lot of fun out there. We're working hard but we're smiling. We're just playing. ... I think everything snowballs in a good way. When things go well you feel better out there individually and as a team."

What's also helped is finding a comfort level with the system and style of play implemented by coach Craig Berube. He took over Oct. 7, but in the first month with him behind the bench the Flyers went 4-7-1. Since a 3-0 loss Nov. 7 to the New Jersey Devils, the Flyers have gone 5-0-1.

"When you change the system it takes a little bit of time," Lecavalier said. "Just a fraction of a second of thinking too much out there and it might be too late."

Now there's less thinking and more reacting.

"Guys are at a point now where they're comfortable with knowing second-nature what it is they have to do out there for the system," defenseman Braydon Coburn told

Berube said there are still things that can be improved and said repetition will be the key to continued success.

"We're skating a lot better," he said. "They're more familiar with what we're doing and what we want to do in different situations that arise. It's an ongoing process and ... you have to keep working at it, keep teaching it and preaching it."

The Flyers' skate didn't include line rushes, but it's hard to imagine Berbue would alter the lineup. The only change from the group that was on the ice for the win Thursday against the Buffalo Sabres will be in goal, with Steve Mason returning to the lineup.

The Islanders, who played Friday at the Pittsburgh Penguins, did not skate Saturday.

Here is what the lineups likely will look like for the Islanders and Flyers:


Thomas Vanek - John Tavares - Kyle Okposo

Michael Grabner - Frans Nielsen - Josh Bailey

Pierre-Marc Bouchard - Peter Regin - Cal Clutterbuck

Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Colin McDonald

Andrew MacDonald - Travis Hamonic

Matt Donovan - Radek Martinek

Thomas Hickey - Matt Carkner

Kevin Poulin

Anders Nilsson

Scratched: Brock Nelson, Eric Boulton, Aaron Ness

Injured: Lubomir Visnovsky (concussion), Brian Strait (upper body), Evgeni Nabokov (groin)


Scott Hartnell - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek

Brayden Schenn - Vincent Lecavalier - Wayne Simmonds

Steve Downie - Sean Couturier - Matt Read

Jay Rosehill - Adam Hall - Zac Rinaldo

Braydon Coburn - Kimmo Timonen

Mark Streit - Nicklas Grossmann

Luke Schenn - Erik Gustafsson

Steve Mason

Ray Emery

Scratched: Michael Raffl, Hal Gill, Andrej Meszaros

Follow Adam Kimelman on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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