Flyers on road to nowhere
The Philadelphia Inquirer Blog - Flyers Report: Broad Street Bull
Flyers on road to nowhere
Sam Carchidi, Inquirer Staff Writer
TORONTO _ The Flyers are not going to be playing in the Stanley Cup playoffs if this trend doesn’t end.
After dropping a 5-2 decision in Toronto on Monday, they are 1-6 on the road.
Forget about the fact they outshot Toronto by a misleading 46-24 margin.
After scoring in the opening minute, the Flyers (5-7-1) were beaten to loose pucks all night by the speedier Maple Leafs, and their defense was, in a word, atrocious.
“We need to play with more composure,” said Nick Grossmann, who took the blame for defensive lapses that led to two of the Leafs’ goals.
Six losses in seven road games. That is not a recipe for a playoff berth.
“The good thing is that we have a chance to come right back,” said winger Wayne Simmonds, referring to Tuesday’s game in Winnipeg.
Monday was the start of a season-high, six-game road trip that will also have stops in Winnipeg, New Jersey, Montreal, New York (Islanders) and Pittsburgh.
It may not be the make-or-break point of the 48-game season, but it’s close.
This is a franchise that, through the years, has prided itself on playing with an edge on the road.
This is a franchise that had a 25-13-3 road record last season, tying Boston for the most wins away from home.
This is a franchise that, to borrow a Bryzism, looks lost in the woods when it is playing on enemy ice.
“We don’t change our style,” insisted Simmonds, who gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead 38 seconds into the game.
Flyers goalie, Ilya Bryzgalov allowed four goals and was yanked in the second period. Bryzgalov, who has been the Flyers’ MVP in the first 13 games, went out a back door after the game and skipped talking with the media.
Maybe he had used up all his conversation while joking with a fan while he sat at the end of the bench after being removed from the game.
Bryzgalov wasn’t the problem Monday. It was the backpedalling defense. It was the ineffective power play. It was the costly turnovers that Toronto converted into goals.
It was a pop-gun offense that has produced a grand total of nine goals in its six road losses. In those losses, the Flyers’ power play is 2 for 28 _ 7.1 percent.
At home, the power play is clicking at 25 percent.
Maybe the Flyers’ road woes are an aberration. Maybe when Scott Hartnell and Andrej Meszaros return from injuries, they will steady themselves.
But it will probably be almost two more weeks before those key players are back. That makes this road trip critical because if you fall into a deep hole in an abbreviated season, there’s not much time to climb out of it.
Breakaways. Captain Claude Giroux, who was visibly upset after the loss, went pointless for the eighth time in 13 games…..Coach Peter Laviolette was expected to give backup goalie Brian Boucher the start in Winnipeg Tuesday. But Monday’s turn of events may cause him to go back to Bryzgalov, who has started 12 of the first 13 games....Sean Couturier missed the game with the flu and reportedly was sent back to Philadelphia. Adirondack's Harry Zolnierczyk will join the team in Winnipeg, according to the Glens Falls Post-Star.
Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.