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Sealing the Deal

Flyers focus on closing out games during skate Thursday

Thursday, 03.20.2008 / 2:35 PM ET / 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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  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
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12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 82 22 59 1 81
C. Giroux 81 25 48 -3 73
M. Streit 81 9 43 -8 52
W. Simmonds 75 28 22 -5 50
B. Schenn 82 18 29 -5 47
S. Couturier 82 15 22 4 37
M. Del Zotto 64 10 22 -5 32
M. Read 80 8 22 -4 30
M. Raffl 67 21 7 6 28
V. Lecavalier 57 8 12 -7 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 18 18 11 .928 2.25
R. Emery 10 11 7 .894 3.06
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