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Sealing the Deal

Flyers focus on closing out games during skate Thursday

Thursday, 03.20.2008 / 2:35 PM / News
By Kevin Kurz  - philadelphiaflyers.com
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Sealing the Deal
(Philadelphia, PA) – With every single point in the standings of utmost importance for the Flyers, the coaching staff decided to concentrate on a couple facets of the game that could end up going a long way towards the Flyers' playoff push.

The team spent time on the Wachovia Center ice working on six-on-five situations, which lately have been a problem. Philadelphia lost a lead to Florida on February 23 at 19:56 of the third period and fell in overtime, 2-1; was 27 seconds away from a regulation victory in Boston before eventually losing, 3-2 in overtime; and almost surrendered two scores to Atlanta on Tuesday in the final half-minute of the game. The Flyers held on for that win, 3-2, but only after a spectacular save by Antero Niittymaki on a blast by Ilya Kovalchuk with three seconds left preserved the victory.
Multimedia
   Stevens reaction
   Richards/Briere/Niittymaki


A shootout drill concluded practice, but afterwards in the locker room the talk centered around what has to be done for Philadelphia to make sure that it gets the precious two points in the standings rather than settling for just one.

“I think it was a good move by the coaching staff to go over six-on-five,” said Kimmo Timonen. “What happens when the puck goes to the corner, what happens when we try to break out, and that kind of stuff. We really haven’t covered that until today, and I think it made it clear for a lot of guys what we should do. It was a good thing.”

“You have to practice it. It’s obviously a huge part of the game,” added Jeff Carter. “You get up a goal and obviously they are going to pull the goalie, and it’s tough when you have an extra attacker. You have to know where to be and where to go, and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t practice it.”

Stevens explained what he saw at the end of the Atlanta game, specifically the chance in the final seconds, and relayed that to the team.

“When the puck is on the wall, to me, the first thing is it needs to stay on the wall,” said the head coach. “[Slava] Kozlov just blindly turned and threw it at the net, but the fact that he was able to, was the first thing we talked about. He should not be able to pull the puck off the wall. They only had one guy in a scoring area and that was Kovalchuk, and I just thought our awareness of where he was on the ice wasn’t where it needed to be.

“The guy on the puck needs to be the hardest guy [to check] on the ice, and the guys away from the puck need to have really good awareness.”

The message seemed to have gotten across, as the defense clamped down and cleared the zone several times during the drill.

“We had to make them look good. We’re trying to build their confidence,” joked Danny Briere. “They did a good job. There were a few adjustments that needed to be made and it looked good from then on.”

As for Briere, he is feeling more and more comfortable with his linemate, Vaclav Prospal. In the last seven games, the pair has combined for 11 points (4g, 7a). Briere feels like there are even better things on the horizon.

“I’m waiting for that big game to come from us,” he said. “Since the first game he was here we’ve created a lot of chances and most of our games we have three, four or five more chances [than the other line].

“We always get a goal, but we’re waiting for that big game. I always have the sense that it’s right there and it’s coming, because we’ve been playing a lot of good games.”

Biron gets the call against New York


Martin Biron will be in net when the Flyers host the New York Rangers at the Wachovia Center on Friday night (7:00 p.m., Comcast SportsNet).

Stevens explained the decision after practice.

“Marty has played well against the Rangers the last couple times,” he said. “If you look at Marty’s play overall, he’s only lost four games in regulation in his last 13. I think Marty got the rest that he needed, and I think you’ll see him come in here and play extremely well.”

Niittymaki made 17 saves in Tuesday’s win over Atlanta.

“Niitty has come in and won us hockey games, and he’ll get back in the net before we’re done here,” said Stevens.

FLYERS NOTES

The Flyers practiced at the Wachovia Center due to their annual team photo taking place in the morning. … Joffrey Lupul did not skate. … Members of the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation took to the ice with Biron, Niittymaki and Jason Smith after practice.

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 50 31 15 4 163 132 66
2 MTL 47 31 13 3 127 108 65
3 NYI 48 32 15 1 157 135 65
4 DET 49 28 12 9 145 128 65
5 PIT 49 28 13 8 145 125 64
6 WSH 48 25 14 9 144 124 59
7 BOS 49 26 16 7 131 123 59
8 NYR 46 27 15 4 135 111 58
9 FLA 46 21 15 10 114 129 52
10 PHI 50 21 22 7 139 151 49
11 TOR 50 22 24 4 144 155 48
12 OTT 47 19 19 9 129 134 47
13 CBJ 47 21 23 3 119 148 45
14 NJD 49 18 22 9 110 137 45
15 CAR 48 17 25 6 104 125 40
16 BUF 50 14 33 3 94 179 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 50 17 41 11 58
C. Giroux 49 16 36 7 52
M. Streit 50 7 28 0 35
W. Simmonds 50 18 13 -4 31
B. Schenn 50 11 20 -2 31
S. Couturier 50 11 12 0 23
M. Read 50 3 15 -8 18
M. Del Zotto 38 4 12 -6 16
M. Raffl 40 12 3 6 15
V. Lecavalier 36 7 7 -9 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 10 12 6 .922 2.40
R. Emery 8 9 1 .887 3.38
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