Friday, December 26, 2014

Matt Read: Flyers need to 'keep it simple'

Matt Read, one of many highly skilled Flyers forwards without a goal in the first eight games, says he and his teammates are trying too hard.

Matt Read: Flyers need to 'keep it simple'

Flyers winger Matt Read. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
Flyers winger Matt Read. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

Matt Read, one of many highly skilled Flyers forwards without a goal in the first eight games, says he and his teammates are trying too hard.

"When things aren't going your way, you try to do the little extra. You're gripping the stick a little hard," he said after Friday's high-tempo practice in Voorhees. "You're trying to do the little extra thing and getting yourself out of position."

The Flyers' offensive ineptness - at least at the start of an NHL season - hasn't been equaled in almost a half century.

Thursday's 4-1 loss to visiting Pittsburgh marked the eighth straight time they had failed to score more than two goals since the season started. That's the first time that has happened since 1964, when the Boston Bruins did it in the first nine games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

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The Flyers are 1-7 and have scored a total of 11 goals. Their record and the number of goals scored are the worst in franchise history for the season's first eight games.

Read's solution: "Keep it simple. Keep doing the little things - winning puck battles, getting pucks to the net. We're having a hard time hitting the net right now. We have to focus on putting the puck in the middle of the net and getting rebounds."

In the loss to the Penguins, the Flyers had more shots that didn't hit the net (38) than were on goal (25).

The Flyers, whose record would be drastically different if they weren't outscored by a 12-2 third-period margin, don't play again until Thursday against the visiting Rangers. They will have six days between games, and four practices to fine-tune coach Craig Berube's new system.

"We have to figure what we need to do to win games and kind of hit our 'refresh' button," Read said. "We have to put these last eight games behind us. Take these six days to think about the rest of the season. Let's start winning hockey games and enjoy the season."

With 74 games left, Read said, "there's no reason to hit the panic button yet."

"It's a long season and it can only get better," winger Wayne Simmonds said. "I don't think it get can get any worse. We have to keep working hard, and the harder we work, the better we get."

"Obviously we're not happy with our record, but we're doing a lot of good things out there and have to stay positive in this room," said captain Claude Giroux, who is still searching for his first goal. "If we do, we're going to start winning games and put ourselves back in a playoff position."

Giroux called Friday's practice, which featured conditioning drills, the "hardest of the year."

Breakaways. Berube, who said it's "my job to keep these guys motivated and upbeat," has changed some of the Flyers' practice plans; they will not practice Saturday or Sunday, though injured forwards Vinny Lecavalier and Scott Hartnell will skate Sunday at 11 a.m. in Voorhees, the coach said. . . . Kimmo Timonen, who left Thursday's game with an unspecified injury, did not practice. He is listed as day to day and is expected to practice Monday, general manager Paul Holmgren said.

scarchidi@phillynews.com

Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.

Sam Carchidi Inquirer Staff Writer
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