ST. PAUL, Minn. _ Flyers goalie Michael Leighton, subbing for the injured Ray Emery, deserves better.
Yes, he gift-wrapped two goals Saturday that, as it turned out, gave Minnesota a 2-1 win.
But Leighton is the guy who seemingly rescued the Flyers season as he went 8-0-1 with one no-decision in his first 10 starts after Emery was originally sidelined .
In his last three starts, including Saturday’s, the Flyers have scored a grand total of one goal for Leighton.
So the latest loss falls just as much on the offense as it does Leighton.
In their last four defeats, the Flyers first two lines have zero even-strength goals _ and just one score on the power play.
Oh, and the Flyer had 72 shots and one goal in their last two games.
That’s not going to get it done _ even if Bernie Parent in his prime was in the nets.
Asked after Saturday’s loss if he planned to make lineup changes when the Flyers host the New Jersey Devils on Monday, coach Peter Laviolette replied: “I’m not there yet.”
But don’t be surprised if newcomer Ville (rhymes with Philly) Leino replaces Darroll Powe as the left wing on the Jeff Carter line.
That’s not meant as a slight to the hard-working Powe, but Laviolette has to try SOMETHING.
The Flyers continued a puzzling trend: When they fall behind, they stay behind. They are now 1-16 when they trail after two periods.
The Flyers had plenty of opportunities Saturday. They outshot the Wild, 39-30, but always seemed a step behind for a rebound or a loose puck around goalie Anton Khudobin, who was superb in his first NHL start.
“Of course I was nervous. It was my first start. In front of 18,000 screaming people,” the rookie said with a smile. “I said to myself, ‘It’s OK. Just play your game.’ ”
The Flyers’ power play continued to struggle. They went 0 for 4 and failed to get off a shot in their last two power plays. They were 0 for 8 on the PP in their last two games _ a 1-0 loss to sad-sack Edmonton and last night’s defeat.
“It’s the extension of the five on five,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “Right now, they’re not going in.”
Leighton, a standup guy, pointed at himself for the loss.
“I let it two soft goals,” he said. “I take the blame.”
He also summed up the Flyers’ offensive woes succinctly.
“We’re at the point now where I think we’re a little frustrated, so we’re just throwing everything at the net,” he said. “We have a lot of skilled guys on this team that can make plays. When we were scoring a lot of goals last month, we were making plays and we had a lot of confidence. I think we have to get back to that.”
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Breakaways. The shot total (39) was the Flyers’ highest since they had 43 in an Oct. 27 game at Washington. The Flyers lost that game, too, 4-2….Mike Richards and Matt Carle clanked shots off the post….The Flyers’ first two lines had 19 shots on goal. They combined for 39 shots and zero goals in the last two games…..The Flyers fell to eighth in the Eastern Conference. They went 1-2 on the trip, which started with a 3-0 win in Calgary. The Flyers play a home-and-home series with the Devils on Monday and Wednesday.