In his latest effort to generate offense from his sputtering team, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette on Thursday stuck Danny Briere on the left wing of his buddy Claude Giroux’s line. Wayne Simmonds remains on the right wing.
Laviolette used the combination late in the 2-1 loss at the Rangers on Monday. It produced no goals, but it looked good enough to give it another chance in Washington tomorrow night.
“We had some success with Matt Read on there,” Laviolette said. “We weren’t generating as much offensively as we would have liked, in New York, so we put Danny there. There’s probably going to be more switches, even if we reel off 10 in a row.”
Actually, if they reel off 10 in a row and stay healthy, nothing this important will change.
At this point, reeling off two in a row would be a godsend.
The Flyers are 2-5 in the lockout-shortened, 48-game season. They lost their first three, beat the Rangers and blew out the Panthers, then lost their last two.
They rank 25th, scoring 2.00 goals per game
Most notably, Giroux has not scored a goal and has just two points in the team’s last five games.
“Obviously, I’m not happy with my game. It’s only seven games,” Giroux said. “I’m staying positive.”
That was the third time in 2 minutes Giroux referenced the fact that the Flyers had played only seven games.
In a regular year, that’s less than 9 percent of the season.
This year, it’s almost 15 percent.
That is why Laviolette made the move to put two smallish offensive weapons on the same line instead of spreading their talent through the lineup.
Otherwise, they would be playing together all the time.
They have a similar temperament and devilishly good hands.
Giroux lived with Briere and Briere’s family for the 2010-11 season. The pair often trains together.
For a month during the lockout this fall, they played on the same line for Eisbaren Berlin before a neck injury sent Giroux back to the States.
Giroux, a wizard with the puck, loved playing with Briere in Germany, and he is eager to skate with him for the Flyers.
“I know where he is one the ice,” Giroux said. “I know what kind of player he is. We can feed off each other.”
That’s the plan.
“I think it’s a nice complement,” Laviolette said. “One sees the ice really well. One can put the puck in the back of the net really well. A lot of players might enjoy playing with Claude. Because he does see the ice and can make a lot of plays. So when you get someone who’s a natural goal-scorer like Danny, it could be a good fit.
“We’ll try it and see where it goes.”
Laviolette, on the early play of goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, whose .924 save percentage and 2.18 goals-against average have earned him just two wins: “It’s like a pitcher who goes out on the mound and doesn’t get the run support he needs to win the game.”