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Bounce Back Material

2013-14 Flyers have had ability to shake off bad losses overnight

Friday, 02.28.2014 / 3:26 PM / News
By Jay Greenberg  - philadelphiaflyers.com
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Bounce Back Material
2013-14 Flyers have had ability to shake off bad losses overnight

Practice has made the Flyers nearly perfect. They can flush the bad ones with the best of them.

You can blow them out, but so far they have blown right back. After getting flummoxed 7-0 by Washington, the next night they were airtight in a 1-0 win at New Jersey. After showing zero energy in a 3-0 home loss to the Devils, the nadir of their bad start, the Flyers next took it to Edmonton to start a 6-0-1 spurt.

Can you keep the 2013-14 Flyers down? Nah, they got resilience down.

After appearing to have one leg already on the plane home during a 7-2 loss at Chicago, one night later they buckled right down to squeeze Montreal 2-1, pulling off the trickiest motivation of them all, the first game back from the long road trip.

Bland would describe the 2-0 loss in Minnesota. Yet spirited would portray the victory that followed in Detroit, a hard place to win, evidenced by that one being only their second at Joe Louis since 1989. And though the Flyers never had the puck in a 6-1 loss to Boston, three days later they practically never gave it up in a 5-0 home blasting of the Red Wings.

Only once all season have the Flyers not followed up one of their stinkers with a win. After going down too easily, 5-1 in Dallas, they lost in Ottawa, but only in a shootout.

Point is, they have gotten at least a point every time they have needed a serious rebound.

They have copper-plated plumbing, do these Flyers, and now their industrial strength toilets will be tested again Saturday afternoon against the Rangers. Who, last time in, went down 2-1 at the Wells Fargo Center one game after the Flyers had been taken out by Vancouver 4-1.

This is a team at its best immediately following its worst, which is how, despite skids of 1-7 and 2-7-2, the Flyers are in third place in the division -- playoff position -- with 22 games remaining. Never mind that thanks to all these blowouts, a 30-24-6 team has given up nine goals more than they have scored, Craig Berube’s troops remain in the hunt while their hunt for the level of consistency needed to become a greater Stanley Cup threat continues.

Of course, a first-pair caliber defenseman who could get them out of their zone with more ease, would even out more of their highs and lows. That said, the Flyers have been solid enough back there for long enough stretches to make their M.O. strange and frustrating.

Their 10 wins after trailing at some point of the third period is a franchise record, but they might have even more comeback wins had they been able to hold themselves in more games.

As the Sharks, who remember were overwhelmed by a Flyer third-period in San Jose on February 3, went to the net at will in a 5-goal second period blitz Thursday night, it once again became a curiosity: Why does it so often takes the Flyers another game to compose themselves so well?

“That’s a good question,” said Berube. “I think we were ready tonight, thought our first period was okay, considering the layoff.

“Then, after they tied it up, it looked like we stopped competing.”

It would be easy to assume that the Flyers have gone as their goaltending has gone, but the only game where Steve Mason severely fought the puck was the one where his team rallied for three late goals to beat Columbus.

Thursday night Mason let in one bad boy, dropping Marc-Edouard Vlassic’s point shot that Joe Pavlelski converted to put the Sharks up by two. Until Mason was yanked in an attempt to shake out the Flyers’ cobwebs, their goalie spent the rest of his 32:01 in the net with his head on a swivel, looking through screens.

No, it hardly has been the goaltending. Typically when the Flyers are bad, it is most often because their defensive zone play is bad. Sharks were so uncovered in the slot that on two goals, they had time to stop point feeds and then turn around and fire. One careless stick foul by Michael Raffl that Pavlelski converted for a 2-2 tie seemed to change everything, but why would it?

Why does it seem to take a night to sleep on it for the Flyers to wake up?

“There is no (standings) room to go on a couple day-break.” theorized Mason, but the race is so tight, there probably will not be room to go on too many more one-period breaks either.

All that said, if the Flyers are not a lot better Saturday, the most surprised guy in the house will be their coach.

“This team has a lot of character,” said Berube. “I expect a big game against the Rangers, I really do.

“They are embarrassed, we’re all embarrassed tonight.”

No question, the Flyers do shame pretty well. But it would be a shame to miss the playoffs because they have to gas up with humiliation.

You can write to jay Greenberg at jgreenberg@comcast-spectacor.com

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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 49 14 32 3 92 174 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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