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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 WSH 53 40 9 4 175 120 84
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 54 31 18 5 153 135 67
4 NYI 53 29 18 6 150 131 64
5 DET 54 28 18 8 136 132 64
6 BOS 54 29 19 6 159 148 64
7 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
8 PIT 53 27 19 7 138 135 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 PHI 53 24 20 9 127 138 57
12 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
13 OTT 56 25 25 6 157 173 56
14 CBJ 56 22 28 6 140 173 50
15 BUF 55 21 28 6 125 151 48
16 TOR 53 19 25 9 122 149 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Giroux 53 16 29 -8 45
J. Voracek 53 8 35 -3 43
W. Simmonds 53 20 16 -7 36
B. Schenn 51 15 15 1 30
S. Gostisbehere 35 9 20 4 29
S. Couturier 40 9 15 9 24
M. Read 51 9 9 -5 18
M. Raffl 53 7 7 5 14
S. Laughton 52 4 10 -7 14
M. Del Zotto 51 4 9 -8 13
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 13 14 7 .917 2.65
M. Neuvirth 11 6 2 .933 2.14
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