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FLIGHT DELAY

Flyers don't take off against Carolina, and drop a sluggish game 3-2.

Thursday, 01.23.2014 / 12:01 AM / News
By Jay Greenberg  - philadelphiaflyers.com
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FLIGHT DELAY
Six p.m. might as well have been 11 a.m. the way the Flyers started Wednesday night. And Craig Berube felt there was snow reason for it.\r\n\r\n\u201CIt is what is,\u201D said the coach, who had not set a practice Tuesday following a Monday afternoon game on Long Island, then, after the postponed game was scheduled for an hour earlier than usual, decided not to skate the Flyers Wednesday morning. \u201CYou have to get through it.\r\n\r\n\u201CTo me, it\u2019s mental.\u201D

PHILADELPHIA -- Six p.m. might as well have been 11 a.m. the way the Flyers started Wednesday night. And Craig Berube felt there was snow reason for it.

“It is what is,” said the coach, who had not set a practice Tuesday following a Monday afternoon game on Long Island, then, after the postponed game was scheduled for an hour earlier than usual, decided not to skate the Flyers Wednesday morning. “You have to get through it.

“To me, it’s mental.”

It looked physical, the way the Hurricanes turned on the jets and left the Flyers wearing galoshes, appearing a lot

Jake Voracek and the rest of the Flyers couldn't get much going on offense against Carolina, losing to the Canes for the third time this season.

more inferior than the closeness of their 3-2 loss suggested. But while an additional Mark Howe or two surely would be welcome on the 2013-14 Black and Orange, we will not so fast to jump to any conclusions about the Flyers being overmatched night after night in the speed department.

The puck always has moved faster than even did Yvan Cournoyer. The Flyers, so quick to give it away in their own zone or just dump to center all Wednesday evening, really appeared more sluggish than they did speed-challenged. For all of Carolina’s quickness, it still trails Philadelphia by five points in the Metropolitan Division standings.

“[The Hurricanes] are fast, but I don’t think there is a matchup problem,” said Berube. “When you play a fast team you have to do things quick and have support and make plays.

“The way we were moving the puck tonight, that wasn’t going to happen. “

The Flyers, giving it away under both good pressure and no pressure, managed three first-period shots on goal while Alexander Semin was nailing one out of Andrej Meszaros feet and inside the far post on Steve Mason for a 1-0 lead.

Just when it looked like the Flyers finally were starting to gain a little traction in the second period, Luke Schenn fanned on a Sean Couturier pass back to the point and Nathan Gerbe soloed for a circus shot, faking going to his backhand, then shooting the puck between his legs on the forehand.

It was a tip-your-cap kind of goal, even if Schenn on that that particular one wore the dance cap.

“You see that more in shootouts, when there is no back pressure,” said Mason. “Give [Gerbe] credit.”

Actually, Schenn’s misplay nevertheless, give the defense credit for keeping a semblance of order in the Flyers’ end, enabling them to mount their standard comeback. Giroux made two plays off the wall, one to set up his own bank shot after circling the net, the other to feed Scott Hartnell’s game-tying rebound three minutes into the third period.

It was 2-2 and the joint jumping for all of about 20 seconds until the Flyers resumed doing practically the same nothing that they had been for two periods.

“They were cycling it on us for minutes on end,” said Hartnell. “Give them credit, they looked like an all star team out there, quick and fast and strong and we were the exact opposite.

“You play hockey like that, you are going to get whooped.

In the long run, usually. In the short run, when you are getting strong goaltending and little else, you try to hang on to salvage another point out of another lukewarm performance. But Jake Voracek, fortunate to still have a February and March to this season after getting slashed on the hand Monday in Uniondale, lost his stick, and Michael Raffl mindlessly poked the puck out of a standoff behind the Flyers goal and up the boards.

There wasn't a lot to celebrate for the Flyers, but Claude Giroux's goal did get the Flyers back in the game for a short period of time.

Mason picked up Andrej Sekera’s point shot late and Jiri Tlusty easily converted the rebound winner on a goalie who played his best game since the Flyers went 5-1 on the holiday road trip.

Since then they have gone 3-3-2, so it could be worse, but assuredly things will get that way unless the Flyers start playing more of the 60 minutes every game.

“I thought we had a good start on Long Island,” said Berube, but thanks to too many penalties the Flyers again had a bad finish, once more for lack of enough attack to keep the puck out of their own end .

Because the Brayden Schenn-Wayne Simmonds-Hartnell line remains productive, Berube says he has been reluctant to move Vinny Lecavalier back into his comfort zone in the middle and move Schenn to the wing. But sooner if not later, the priority has to become putting an expensive veteran in a position where he can be productive.

That said, in these consecutive losses, finish has not been the Flyers problem, more getting the puck through the middle and to the net.

After the second period, Giroux told Steve Coates the Flyers performance was embarrassing for a home game. And when it was over, the short-lived comeback hadn’t changed the captain’s mind.

“There was no energy the whole game,” Giroux said. “We didn’t get in our forecheck, didn’t make plays, didn’t look like we had any confidence.

“That’s how we were playing at the start of the year.”

It’s not that bad because this Giroux, who also made two plays Saturday night to salvage your basic one-period effort in the first of the home-and-home with the Islanders, bears no resemblance to the Giroux of the bad old days of October.

He could use some more help though, starting tonight in Columbus.

To contact Jay Greenberg, email jgreenberg@comcast-spectacor.com

SCHEDULE

HOME
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PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Giroux 82 28 58 7 86
J. Voracek 82 23 39 11 62
W. Simmonds 82 29 31 -4 60
S. Hartnell 78 20 32 11 52
M. Streit 82 10 34 3 44
B. Schenn 82 20 21 0 41
M. Read 75 22 18 -4 40
S. Couturier 82 13 26 1 39
V. Lecavalier 69 20 17 -16 37
K. Timonen 77 6 29 5 35
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 33 18 7 .917 2.50
R. Emery 9 12 2 .903 2.96
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