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Third D pairing has vastly improved; Schenn trade rumors debunked
Thursday, 11.21.2013 / 3:45 PM ET
By Anthony SanFilippo - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter / Flyers Inside Out
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Flyers Inside Out

PHILADELPHIA – There was one thing that Erik Gustafsson and Luke Schenn really didn’t like about being healthy scratches a couple weeks ago.

Well, they didn’t like not being in the lineup – that’s a given. But aside from that there was one other thing that was really unpleasant.

“You have to work harder than everyone else just to get back in,” said Gustafsson, referring to the intense skating workouts that scratched players go through as they spend a good 30 minutes longer on the ice after practices than the guys in the lineup. “You don’t want to have to do that too long.”

No, you don’t, which is why Gustafsson and Schenn talked about their lot, sitting in the press box in Carolina earlier this month.

“We watched a few games together,” Schenn said. “[In Carolina] we got to watch it from up top and saw the game from a different angle and we realized we had to stop worrying about making little mistakes.

“We told each other just be on our toes more, not think too much out there and play simple.”

Which is what they’ve done.

In the five games they’ve been back in the lineup, they’ve worked well as the Flyers third pairing And haven’t had a goal scored against them when they’ve been on the ice together.

“They’ve both been solid,” said coach Craig Berube. “Luke’s been physical and is moving the puck and making quick decisions. Positionally he’s good too. Gus has been aggressive. It’s good. He’s quick and can get on people and he could have good gaps right away and that’s important. He breaks up a lot of plays like that. He’s skating too. He’s not standing around waiting with the puck. That’s what we want.”

And it’s what the Flyers are getting. Having allowed just one even strength goal in the past five games, the team defense as a whole has been better, and that has rubbed off on Gustafsson and Schenn.

“Last game is a good example,” Gustafsson said. “Three or four weeks ago if a team came back and tied us, we probably would have lost to them - like we did against Vancouver and Anaheim. But against Ottawa, they tied it and we took it too them afterward instead. No one is tentative anymore. We are comfortable with the system now and just go out there to play the game.”

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Rumors began circulating this week that the Flyers have been shopping the Schenn brothers on the trade market.

I have been told that is the furthest thing from the truth.

From a conversation I had yesterday, it was explained to me that the Flyers never contacted other teams to offer up either Schenn in a trade.

Rather, other teams have been calling Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren and asking for them.

The assumption in other parts of the league was that since Luke Schenn was a healthy scratch and Brayden Schenn still has not been signed beyond this season (he is a restricted free agent after the year) that the Flyers would be willing to move them.

Several teams contacted the Flyers about Brayden Schenn and at least six others called when Luke Schenn was a scratch.

Neither are going anywhere soon.

“They aren’t a problem but rather they are part of the solution here,” one executive told me.

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NOTES: Ray Emery gets the start in goal for the Flyers… This will be the first game in NHL history where both coaches are of First Nation descent as Ted Nolan and Craig Berube man the two benches… The Sabres have scored the first goal of the game only three times in 23 contests. They also have never had a lead after two periods… Meanwhile, the Flyers are the only team who have not won a game when giving up the first goal… The Flyers have scored 18 goals in their past five games. For perspective, they only scored 22 in the first 15 games of the season. The Flyers have gone eight straight games allowing three goals or fewer. Their longest such streak last season was nine. They have reached a streak of 10 or longer 22 times previously, most recently in February of 2011 (10 games). The franchise record is 22 games (thanks to Bernie Parent) from Feb. 17, 1974 through April 4, 1974. They only reached 15 four other times, and the second best was 17 consecutive games.

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

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 52 39 9 4 171 117 82
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 53 30 18 5 150 135 65
4 NYI 52 28 18 6 145 129 62
5 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
6 DET 53 27 18 8 133 131 62
7 BOS 53 28 19 6 153 146 62
8 PIT 52 27 18 7 138 132 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
12 OTT 54 25 23 6 153 166 56
13 PHI 52 23 20 9 122 137 55
14 BUF 54 21 27 6 124 146 48
15 CBJ 55 21 28 6 137 170 48
16 TOR 52 19 24 9 120 144 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Giroux 52 16 29 -8 45
J. Voracek 52 8 34 -3 42
W. Simmonds 52 19 16 -7 35
B. Schenn 50 14 15 -2 29
S. Gostisbehere 34 9 19 3 28
S. Couturier 40 9 15 9 24
M. Read 51 9 9 -5 18
S. Laughton 52 4 10 -7 14
M. Del Zotto 50 4 9 -10 13
M. Raffl 52 6 6 2 12
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 12 14 7 .915 2.70
M. Neuvirth 11 6 2 .933 2.14
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