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Thursday, 10.17.2013 / 3:15 PM ET
By Anthony SanFilippo - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter / Flyers Inside Out
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Flyers Inside Out

PHILADELPHIA – Flyers Fans need a jolt of optimism.

I understand it’s hard right now, what with the team losing six of the first seven games, scoring just 10 goals and switching coaches already.

But it’s that last part that I want to focus on for a minute here.

Let’s go back to the last time the Flyers made a coaching change. The circumstances were definitely different, but not as different as you might think.

It was the 2009-10 season when John Stevens was fired and replaced by Peter Laviolette.

Those Flyers didn’t get off to a bad start. On the contrary, they got off to a pretty good start.

Instead of being 1-6-0 as the current team is, they were 4-2-1 after seven games. As a matter of fact, they started the season 12-5-1 under Stevens that season, looking like the team they were expected to be.

But then something happened. Something eerily similar to what is happening now.

They went 1-6-0 in a span of seven games.

They lost three straight, not looking good defensively in any of them, won a game against a bad New York Islanders team by a score of 2-1 (sound like the Florida game last week?) and then lost three more in a row, scoring a total of three goals in those contests, making it five goals in four games.

With that, Stevens was canned.

In came Laviolette, a coach with a new system that he had to teach a group of underachieving players (sound familiar?)

In Laviolette’s first 10 games, the Flyers were pretty dreadful, going 2-7-1. Things really looked bleak for that team as they hit rock bottom in the Eastern Conference with a 16-22-2 record just before Christmas.

But at the end of that bad run, the Flyers were starting to get Laviolette’s system and play it well – including a thrilling game against Pittsburgh at the Wells Fargo Center then ended in a 3-2 shootout loss.

That’s not to say that history will repeat itself tonight against the Penguins, but it was a strong effort by a floundering team.

They followed that up with a tough 2-1 loss at home to the New York Rangers (ironically their next opponent too) in a game in which they dominated New York, outshooting them 37-24 only to have the game taken away from them by the stellar goaltending of Henrik Lundqvist.

However, after that initial 10 games for Laviolette, the Flyers went on a solid run. Over the next 25 games, they went 17-7-1 leading into the Olympic break.

They had figured it out. They had righted the ship. And although it was pretty topsy-turvy the rest of the season (9-10-3) the Flyers still found a way to make the playoffs on the final day of the season with a shootout win over the Rangers.

From there it was the dramatic playoff run to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Suggesting that could happen again this season, especially at 1-6-0, is definitely getting way ahead of ourselves. Actually, it is understood that this poor start is very difficult to overcome.

Consider only three times since the creation of the shootout in 2005 has a team more than four points out of a playoff spot on Nov.1 made it to the postseason.

With extra points being given out like Halloween candy, it’s tough to make up even a marginal difference. So, this Flyers team certainly has a hill to climb.

But in the same way you can sense a winning streak coming to an end because of bad habits sneaking into good team play, so too can you sense a losing streak nearing it’s conclusion when a team plays well but still comes up short.

That’s been the talk around the Flyers for the past week, Each game they got a little bit better, despite losing.

And then today, Claude Giroux made a reference to the past – to that 2009-10 season in fact – to describe where the team thinks they are right now.

“What’s going on right now makes me think of when we played Boston in the playoffs [in 2010],” he said. “We were down 3-0, but we were talking to ourselves and we were like, ‘How the hell are we down 3-0? We should be up 3-0.’ We just stayed with it and came back and won the series.

“It’s a long season. If you think about it, we still have 75 games left. That’s a lot of games.”

And it all starts with one win – and they’d love to get that tonight against the first place Penguins.

To contact Anthony SanFilippo, email asanfilippo@comcast-spectacor.com or follow him on Twitter @AnthonySan37




1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69


C. Giroux 78 22 45 -8 67
W. Simmonds 81 32 28 -7 60
B. Schenn 80 26 33 3 59
J. Voracek 73 11 44 -5 55
S. Gostisbehere 64 17 29 8 46
S. Couturier 63 11 28 8 39
M. Raffl 82 13 18 9 31
M. Read 79 11 15 -5 26
M. Streit 62 6 17 -1 23
S. Laughton 71 7 14 -2 21
S. Mason 23 19 10 .918 2.51
M. Neuvirth 18 8 4 .924 2.27
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