CALGARY, Alberta — For just the second time in franchise history, the Flyers swept their three Western Canada opponents on the road.
They sputtered a bit in the second period, but overall played a strong game as they defeated host Calgary on Tuesday night, 4-1.
“I think our team’s real confident right now,” coach Craig Berube said. “I think they believe they can win games, whether you have your best stuff or not. Like in Vancouver the other night, we didn’t have our best stuff, but we still won. They’re finding ways to win and they’re a confident team right now.”
The Flyers started the six-game trip with 4-3 shootout wins in Edmonton and Vancouver.
“Chief had a meeting before the Edmonton game and talked about the way we were approaching away games, and our mindset and the way we play,” said winger Scott Hartnell, referring to Berube by his nickname. “It was a lot of soft plays, a lot of turnovers, guys weren’t skating.”
His message: The Flyers need to play with more of an edge on the road.
For the most part, the Flyers dominated Edmonton and eked out a win, but they were badly outplayed by Vancouver as Steve Mason stole two points with his brilliant goaltending.
Tuesday was their best all-around game on the trip.
On a night when Claude Giroux’s line was held point-less for the first time in 10 games, other players stepped up.
The line of Brayden Schenn (three points, plus-2), Hartnell (goal, plus -3) and Wayne Simmonds (two assists, plus-2) combined for six points and a plus-7 rating.
“I think we’ve played pretty solid the last five or six games,” Hartnell said. “We’ve had lots of opportunities. It’s nice to contribute and be part of a big win. It can’t be ‘G’ every night. It can’t be Vinny (Lecavalier) every night. You have to spread the wealth around.”
Schenn led the way — one night after he ended a 16-game scoring drought. After the win in Vancouver, Schenn said a weight had been lifted and conceded that he had been pressing.
“It happens to most guys,” he said. “You go through slumps and then you get a little shot of confidence. Tonight, our line as a whole worked hard and we were playing in their end a little bit.”
(Actually, Schenn should have had two goals, but one of his scores was disallowed because of a bogus “inadvertent goaltender interference” call against Hartnell.)
Berube was much happier with his team’s effort _ especially on defense _ than the one in Vancouver. He got a strong performance from goalie Ray Emery (23 saves).
“We did what we had to do to win. I liked our battle in front of our net, and Ray was sharp,” Berube said. “… Guys blocked shots and played hard.”
The Flyers (20-16-4) have won four straight and are 7-1-1 in their last nine games.
“It’s a good way to end the calendar year,” Emery said.
Read injured. Flyers winger Matt Read apparently took a hit to the head and left the game in the first period and did not return. It is not known if he has a concussion. Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren called it an upper-body injury and said more would be known Wednesday.
Read was not hospitalized, a Flyers spokesman said.
Breakaways. In his last eight appearances against the Flames, Emery has a 1.37 GAA and .948 save percentage.….Giroux had his career-best nine-game points streak stopped, but he won 14 of 21 faceoffs…. The Flyers play in Colorado Thursday and will face former teammate Max Talbot. Flyers winger Steve Downie will oppose his former team….Simmonds has 11 points in his last seven games….Hartnell had a game-high five shots....Several players rotated at Read's spot.
Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.