DETROIT – Tye McGinn and Michael Raffl had just had a brief chat with general manager Paul Holmgren. That was followed by a slightly longer conversation with Bryan Hardenbergh, who handles all the team’s travel.
Finally the pair got to have a seat in the locker room, McGinn able to snarf down a slice of pizza.
The two didn’t say anything to one another, they just both kind of were sitting there, taking it all in.
Finally, after McGinn fired his pizza crust into a trash can from three-point distance (nothing but net) the two caught each other’s eye and shared a subtle high five.
They didn’t want to make too big a deal about it, especially after a 5-2 loss to the Red Wings, the Flyers fifth in six games this season, but the news was too good for them not to share.
They were heading back to Glens Falls, N.Y., home of the Flyers AHL affiliate Adirondack Phantoms, but the trip was to be a short one.
It was so they could stop by their dwellings, gather their things, and get everything to Philadelphia.
You see, it appears the duo is going to be staying for awhile.
The way they played against an immensely talented Red Wings squad was a solid enough impression to have Holmgren ask them to stay.
It’s rare in a 5-2 loss that a team can come away feeling good about themselves. Even more so when your record falls to 1-5. But the Flyers played their best team game of the season thus far, hurt only by a lack of discipline and the awakening of what many thought was going to be a stellar Detroit power play anyway.
When the game was 5-on-5 though, the Flyers were excellent and took it to the Red Wings, and McGinn and Raffl, along with defenseman Erik Gustafsson, who played his first game of the season, had a lot to do with that.
“They played really well,” coach Craig Berube said. “Really well.”
And they did, as did some guys who fans have been waiting for to have breakout performances.
Together again, Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek played really well, even working nicely to set up the McGinn goal.
And the Red Wings had few answers for the Flyers aggressive forecheck.
“The urgency was definitely there,” Berube said.
But maybe things got too urgent at times as the Flyers were whistled repeatedly for one minor penalty after another.
They were shorthanded seven more times, making it 27 times shorthanded in six games and 45 total penalties, both tops in the league.
“We've got to stop taking penalties, we really do,” Berube said. “It’s been an issue in this organization for too long.
“It’s got to get better and we will get better at it because the style we want to play and the skating, we won’t take that many penalties because we’ll be moving our feet. The dumb penalties have to be eliminated all together because they are unacceptable.”
In the interest of full disclosure, both Raffl and McGinn had penalties in the game, and the Red Wings scored off of Raffl’s penalty on a wrap around goal by Todd Bertuzzi.
But both of their penalties were born out of competitiveness. The others? Were simply dumb.
“We’ve got to stay out of the box -- I don’t know how many penalties we took,” Giroux said.
“Six? Seven? That’s too many against Detroit. They got guys who move the puck very well and can make a lot of plays.”
When things broke down on the Flyers ninth-ranked penalty kill, goalie Ray Emery wasn’t able to bail them out.
Starting just his second game of the season, Emery had an uneven game. He looked sharp at times, but admitted that he needed to come up bigger on a couple of the Red Wings power play goals.
“I thought the guys played well and deserved a better fate,” Emery said. “I have to make some saves. [Detroit goalie Jimmy] Howard played a good one. It’s frustrating, but I think the team is moving in the right direction.”
All you need to do is look at the new additions to the lineup to see that.
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