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CONSISTANCY...ER...FAMILIARITY BREEDS SUCCESS

Defense is playing well because the pairs have been consistent
Saturday, 11.23.2013 / 5:42 PM ET
By Anthony SanFilippo - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter / Flyers Inside Out
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Flyers Inside Out

PHILADELPHIA – There have been a lot of buzzwords around the Flyers during this run of good play that has made the rounds.

Skating. Yep, that’s important.

Play without the puck. The key to good defense, gotcha.

Accountability – Players have jobs and roles and they are being held responsible for them, which brings a certain amount of pride in your work because you are doing what you’re told.

Repetition – Have you been to a Craig Berube practice? It plays like shampoo directions: Rinse, wash, repeat.

Consistency – Ahh, there’s an interesting one. Let’s delve into this one shall we?

Consistency can easily be described as playing at the same quality level night in and night out – and that wouldn’t be wrong.

But, the consistency we’re going for here is needs a synonym, so how about familiarity?

See, Berube wants his players to grow comfortable with one another, so he believes in keeping them together.

It’s why a player like Michael Raffl, who was playing well before getting sick and coming out of the lineup can’t get back in – because the fourth line has been excellent when on the ice together.

Meanwhile, Claude Giroux’s line remains intact, Vinny Lecavalier is starting to get some nice chemistry with Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds, and if you haven’t seen everyone gushing over the Sterve Downie-Sean Couturier-Matt Read line, where you been?

But maybe even more important has been the consistency of the defensive pairings.

For eight games now, Kimmo Timonen and Braydon Coburn have been back together. They seem to have had more reunions than Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

However, that’s mostly because they are a pairing that works. They complement each other so well with their combination of skating, vision and responsibility.

“Sometimes it’s best not to mess around and go with something that you know works,” Berube said. “They work very well together because there’s a puck mover there and a bigger guy. Actually, if you look, that’s what we have on all three pairs right now and I’m pretty happy with it.”

The second pair has a tandem of Nick Grossmann and Mark Streit while the third pairing of Erik Gustafsson and Luke Schenn has come on strong after sitting in the press box for three straight games while Andrej Meszaros and Hal Gill filled in.

“We complement each other pretty well too,” said Gustafsson about Schenn after being told about the history of the Coburn-TImonen pairing. “We take it shift by shift. Kimmo and Coburn played with each other for a long time before [this reunion]. That’s why they have such good chemistry and play against the top forwards.

“When we got back in the lineup, me and Luke said to each other, 'Let’s not be tentative, let’s play our game.’ We’ve been doing that and so far it’s been good.”

So good in fact that at even strength, the Flyers have allowed just one goal in the last six games. Let that sink in for a minute.

If the Flyers could just play with more discipline and limit opposing power play chances, scoring on them could be a nightmare.

And that’s a dream the Flyers wouldn’t mind weaving for their opponents on a nightly basis.

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 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

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
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
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 23 19 10 .918 2.51
M. Neuvirth 18 8 4 .924 2.27
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