Flyers hope drills stop third period problems

The 1-7 Flyers, owners of the NHL's worst record and last in goals scored, are getting very little respect.

Except on Siri, the answering service for iPhones.

Ask Siri to name its favorite NHL team and the reply is swift.

"I always like to root for the underdog," replied the female voice. "I guess that makes me a fan of the Flyers right now."

The Flyers, who play their first game in a week when they host the New York Rangers on Thursday, wouldn't be such lovable losers if they could find a way to win the third periods of their games.

In all eight games, the Flyers have had a lead, been tied, or been down by one goal entering the third period. They have been outscored 12-2 in the final 20 minutes in those contests.

"We have to be comfortable playing in those one-goal games, and I don't think in our first eight games we were feeling that comfortable - and that's something that has to change," defenseman Braydon Coburn said after Monday's practice in Voorhees.

Partly because of those third periods, new coach Craig Berube has been putting the Flyers through difficult practices, with the focus on conditioning and speed drills, along with one-on-one and two-on-two battles.

After practicing at the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday morning, most of the Flyers attended the Eagles game together in the afternoon.

"It's good to kind of get your mind off of it a little bit and kind of relax," Giroux said. "I think it was go-go-go and [hit the] panic button, and I think we were playing like that, too. Now we're kind of reflecting on how we're playing and we're going to do more videos and it will be good for us."

Being at the Eagles game, the players had a "chance to meet a lot of fans," Giroux said. "They're like us. They're frustrated and disappointed with the start we're having."

"When you're out in Philadelphia, people are always so nice," Coburn said.

Even after a 1-7 start in which they have scored 11 goals?

"Everyone was. Honestly," said Coburn, a former varsity quarterback at Notre Dame Prep in Saskatchewan. "Everyone knows we've had a tough start and they just [gave] kind words, telling us to get 'er going and it's a long season."

Breakaways. Kimmo Timonen, who left last Thursday's game with a lower-body injury, returned to practice and was deemed by Berube ready to play against the Rangers. The coach was not as optimistic about injured players Vinny Lecavalier (believed to be his groin) and Scott Hartnell playing Thursday. Both skated with no-contact jerseys Monday. "I'm not sure they'll be ready; it's still up in the air. . . . They haven't really practiced with the team full out," Berube said. "I want to make sure they are ready to go 100 percent." When Lecavalier was injured, GM Paul Holmgren estimated he would return in a week. Thursday will be two weeks.

Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.