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PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia Flyers have turned their season around by playing smart hockey. Some good luck hasn't hurt, either.
Matt Read scored a pair of goals to lead the Flyers to their fifth win in six games, 4-1 over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night.
"We're having fun out there, doing simple things, not turning pucks over and just playing simple hockey," Read said. "We're a good team, and it just takes a matter of time and a couple of lucky bounces to get a positive atmosphere and get things clicking and going our way."
Vincent Lecavalier also scored and Scott Hartnell added an empty-net goal for the Flyers, who set a season-high with 46 shots.
Philadelphia began the season by losing seven of its first eight games.
"They're playing good hockey," said Flyers coach Craig Berube, who replaced the fired Peter Laviolette after Philadelphia began the season with three losses. "There are things they can improve on. You're always working to get better, and that's what we're going to do."
Read's goals came 1:40 apart late in the second period. Steve Downie and Sean Couturier assisted on both tallies for Philadelphia (9-10-2), which outshot Buffalo 46-30.
Tyler Myers netted the lone goal for Buffalo, which is 1-3 under interim coach Ted Nolan and an NHL-worst 5-18-1 this season.
"We have to play a certain way, and by doing stupid things like we have been, it's going to be ugly games," Nolan said. "I've seen enough in four games. We have to change some things, and players have to do it or it's going to be a long year.
"You have to do simple things. You can't have turnovers, can't have foolish penalties, can't be muscled off the puck."
The game was the first between two First Nations head coaches. Nolan is Ojibwe, and from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, and Berube is part-Cree and from Calahoo, Alberta.
Myers beat Ray Emery from close range in the first period to stake Buffalo to a 1-0 lead.
But it was all Philadelphia from that point.
"We have to grind it out," Nolan said. "It can't be a sometime thing, it has to be an all-the-time thing. We have to look ourselves in the mirror and get a certain mindset."
Read tied it with a one-timer from the slot with 6:51 left in the second and gave Philadelphia a one-goal advantage by deking goalie Ryan Miller, while all alone in front of the crease, and putting a highlight-reel shot into the top of the net with 4:11 remaining in the period.
"You can't get down on yourself or your teammates," Read said of the Flyers' poor start. "We have a great team. Now it's about having fun and keep playing hard."
Berube said there can't be any letup from his players.
"You have to stay on it all the time," he said. "You can't take a break. You have to be really smart out there. You have to keep working at it. If you want to be a really good team in this league, it takes a lot of work and a lot of preparation."
Lecavalier one-timed a slap shot from the right circle midway through the third to make it 3-1.
Ville Leino and Tyler Ennis had assists for Buffalo, which has lost three straight.
NOTES: The Flyers have outscored opponents 24-8 over their last six games. ... Philadelphia won for the first time this season when it allowed the first goal. . The Flyers have won five straight against the Sabres at home. . Read's first goal snapped a 132-minute, 52-second scoreless streak for Philadelphia against Buffalo.