PHILADELPHIA – Luke Schenn has seen this before. He didn’t understand it then, he doesn’t understand it now.
But, maybe this time, it stings a little more.
Sure, when he was in Toronto, the self-proclaimed center of the hockey universe, it was a frustrating feeling to miss the playoffs. But, they sort of got used to it.
Until this season, where it appears the Leafs will finally be back in the playoffs, Toronto missed the postseason for seven consecutive seasons.
But in Philadelphia, it’s different. Coming into the season, the Flyers had only missed the playoffs only once in 18 seasons.
So, when Schenn arrived in a trade for James van Riemsdyk, he had to think he was improving his situation.
But after the Flyers 3-1 loss Thursday to the Ottawa Senators, he’s now realizing that, at least in this shortened season, the new city has brought a familiar feeling.
“Obviously, when you get traded to Philadelphia the first thing that runs through your mind is you are going to a contender,” Schenn said. “This year has just been… up and down. It’s tough.
“We got off to an obviously tough start and a ton of games in a short amount of period of time [with] not a lot of practice time. You’re never going to make excuses with the season and everything like that. Like I said, it’s obviously frustrating for everyone but we’ll stick with it until the end here and continue to work for each other.”
Really, that’s about all the Flyers have left for after the loss.
It was gritty. There was good effort. There was tight defense, there were offensive chances and there was good goaltending – boy was there ever good goaltending.
Ilya Bryzgalov, coming off a few days rest, was sharp. He stopped everything thrown at him – except a couple breakaways. Both of which were the result of defensive breakdowns – the latter coming late in the third period while the team was shorthanded.
“There was a line change and a missed coverage,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “They had been bringing five guys back all night on their power play and breakouts and that last time they brought four back and the one stretched. From the change, we missed them.”
Colin Greening was the one who surprised the Flyers by staying up front, and Matt Read lost him along the blue line.
It was a devastating goal for the Flyers, one that put them behind the eight ball once again.
“I think there was just miscommunication,” Schenn said. “To give up a goal like that at the end of the game, it’s just pretty much not being aware of who is around you, I guess. It backfired on us. It’s a bad goal to give up at a bad time.”
But, as Schenn would go on to say, it’s easy to focus on the defensive lapses, but the fact is, the bigger problem was on the offensive side of the rink.
“It was a pretty competitive game for the most part,” Schenn said. “Obviously, we traded some chances back and forth. When it comes down to it, you’re not going to win very many games by scoring one goal. We can talk obviously about the goals we give up. It’s one thing and you need to bear down, especially in a tight game there towards the end. You’ve got to find a way to score some goals as well.”
“We’ve got to find a way to get more pucks to the net, more traffic and a little bit more hungry than we are right now,” Giroux said. “Obviously it’s not getting the job done so we need to figure out something here.”
Except, they have practically run out of time.
Now that the Flyers are seven points out of a playoff spot with eight games remaining, only a run of eight consecutive victories can save the Flyers ever-dim playoff hopes.
“We still have eight games left,” Gagne said. “As a hockey player you still have to come in and work hard in practice and still find a way to improve. Whatever happens, we’ll take it as a learning experience. We have a lot of young guys here that need to learn a lot of things. We have to improve a lot of our game and whatever happens, who knows? We have to come prepare for every game, and play our best.”
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