After the Flyers’ 2-0 loss in Ottawa Tuesday, Mike Richards said his team didn’t play with enough urgency.
As the Flyers’ captain, it’s time for Richards to get into the faces of the players he thinks are guilty.
This is Richards’ second year as captain; it’s also the second year the Flyers have folded down the stretch.
A year ago, the Flyers went 7-7-1 in their final 15 regular-season games and slipped to fifth in the Eastern Conference, losing the home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. It was a recipe for disaster, and the Flyers fell to the Penguins in six games.
Tuesday’s loss was the Flyers’ fifth in six games. They are tied for sixth, but are only four points ahead of ninth-place Atlanta.
Richards said the Flyers “had a little bit of a lack of motivation and a lack of urgency, which shouldn’t be there. It’s frustrating and it has to change.”
The Flyers, who are without injured star Jeff Carter for the rest of the regular season, have scored two goals or fewer in five of their last eight games.
Most of the players on the top three lines have been unproductive recently. Consider:
** Darroll Powe hasn’t scored a goal in his last 25 games.
** James van Riemsdyk and Arron Asham each haven’t scored in their last 12 games.
** Dan Carcillo has one goal in his last 12 games.
** Danny Briere has one goal in his last nine games.
** Claude Giroux, who took Carter’s spot on the second line Tuesday, has two goals in the last 19 games.
** Richards has two goals in his last 10 games.
** Scott Hartnell has three goals in his last 27 games.
To make matters worse, the Flyers are 0 for 13 on the power play in their last four games.
They will try to regroup Thursday against visiting Minnesota. It’s a proverbial “must” game for the Flyers, who have been outscored in the first periods of their last five games, 10-3. They have trailed at the end of the first period in each of those five games.
Yep, another recipe for disaster.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Center Jeff Carter will have surgery on his broken left foot Friday, but is still expected to return in the same time as the original prognosis _ three to four weeks, the Flyers announced.
Carter, who leads the team in goals (33) and points (60), broke a bone in the foot on Sunday. The surgery, in which a screw is inserted, will aid the healing process, GM Paul Holmgren said.
The Flyers hope Carter can return for the first round of the playoffs _ if they get there. They host Minnesota Thursday, and the new lines are expected to look like this:
Hartnell-Richards-Carcillo; Gagne-Briere-Leino; van Riemsdyk-Giroux-Powe;
I still vote for a French Connection line of Briere, Giroux and Gagne. Hey, the way things are going, it's worth a look.