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Flyers Anxious to Play After Long Layoff

Friday, 10.21.2005 / 12:00 AM / News
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Flyers Anxious to Play After Long Layoff


Voorhees, NJ – After a week off, which wasn't much of a week off at all due to the team's trip to West Point, the Flyers are ready to get back into game action on Saturday when they visit the Air Canada Centre to face the Toronto Maple Leafs.

If there were ever an atmosphere to get them thinking about competing again, this would be it, according to Head Coach Ken Hitchcock.

"It's Saturday night, it's Hockey Night in Canada and it's in Toronto," said Hitchcock, referring to the national broadcast of the game across Canada.


It will have been a full week since the Flyers defeated the New York Islanders at the Wachovia Center, 5-1, improving their record to 3-2. It was the second straight victory for the team, which was playing well when the layoff began. It will be important to get off on the right foot early in the game on Saturday for the Flyers, who are not exactly adored by the Toronto crowd after knocking them out of the playoffs the last two seasons.

"The first five minutes are going to be very important to come out strong," said Simon Gagne. "[The time off] is something we need to face, and you don't like to have early in the season. We had a good start to the season, and now we have to get that back in the first couple of shifts tomorrow."

"Our game has to be out there quickly," said Hitchcock. "Our start is going to be important because we haven't played in a long time and we're really going to have to work to get our level up right away. Our players know that. I think we expect Toronto to be really good."

During the time off, the Flyers spent three days and two nights bonding on the campus of the United States Military Academy. Some spirited military workouts along with team functions were meant to bring the team closer together, but now it is time to get back to work, according to Keith Primeau.

"What we accomplished this week [at West Point] we think will benefit us in the long term. It will go a long way to bring us some success," said Primeau. "More importantly though, we have to make sure we're prepared and focused for a difficult game tomorrow night."

One player in particular who has been affected by the time off is defenseman Derian Hatcher. The towering defenseman has had an odd schedule since training camp began. First, he was injured which caused him to miss most of camp and all but one preseason game. He then had to serve a three-game suspension that carried over from the 2004 Stanley Cup Playoffs, when he was a member of the Detroit Red Wings. After playing in his first two games for the Flyers last weekend, scoring a goal and registering a +2 rating, he again has had to wait to get back into game action.

"Yesterday it felt like it's been a month since I played a game," said Hatcher. "In my mind, it's almost like I didn't play those two games. I'm definitely anxious to get back going."

Despite riding a two-game winning streak into the game, the Flyers will be looking to improve on their special teams play. The team is just 5-for-39 on the power play (12.8 percent) and has allowed eight goals on 34 attempts while on the penalty kill (76.4 percent).

"We've spent time in both of those areas every day," said Primeau. "If it's not on the ice, it's in the video room. I also thought that we started to play better in both of those regards in the last weekend. It was a matter of sorting some things out with the new ice surface due to the rules changes. I think we'll be on an upward trend now."

FLYERS NOTES
Hitchcock announced on Thursday that Robert Esche would play in goal on Saturday. … Chris Therien is healthy and will be in the lineup on Saturday after missing the last three games with back spasms, while Dennis Seidenberg will be the healthy scratch as the seventh defenseman, according to Hitchcock.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 64 41 18 5 172 142 87
2 NYR 63 39 17 7 197 155 85
3 NYI 65 41 21 3 207 182 85
4 TBL 65 39 20 6 213 171 84
5 DET 62 36 15 11 182 160 83
6 PIT 63 36 18 9 182 158 81
7 WSH 65 35 20 10 193 162 80
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 64 28 23 13 156 181 69
10 OTT 62 28 23 11 176 167 67
11 PHI 64 27 25 12 170 186 66
12 NJD 64 27 27 10 144 165 64
13 TOR 64 26 33 5 173 195 57
14 CBJ 63 26 33 4 163 201 56
15 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
16 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 64 19 46 6 65
C. Giroux 63 18 42 2 60
W. Simmonds 64 25 18 -2 43
M. Streit 64 9 32 -5 41
B. Schenn 64 12 23 -6 35
S. Couturier 64 13 16 2 29
M. Del Zotto 52 8 17 -6 25
M. Read 64 6 18 -9 24
M. Raffl 49 14 5 6 19
V. Lecavalier 46 7 10 -9 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 12 13 8 .924 2.27
R. Emery 10 10 4 .893 3.15
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