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Flyers Anxious to Play After Long Layoff

Friday, 10.21.2005 / 12:00 AM ET / 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

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  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
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
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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