Thursday, April 17, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Flyers dread own power plays

In hockey, it’s not possible to decline a penalty like it is in football.

Flyers dread own power plays

Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen. (Matt Slocum/AP)
Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen. (Matt Slocum/AP)

In hockey, it’s not possible to decline a penalty like it is in football.

But the Flyers’ power play has been so bad this season that even their own players groan when given the man-advantage.

“Sometimes you’re sitting there and you think ‘Oh, (bleep), here we go again’,” Jake Voracek said after Monday’s practice. “When you have trouble scoring, it goes to the power play as well. Right now, guys are sometimes nervous in games.”

The Flyers head into Monday’s games ranked 28th in the NHL in power play percentage (7.4 percent). They are just 1-for-15 through the first six games of the season, tied for second-fewest total opportunities.

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They spent a bit of time working on both special teams on Monday. The penalty kill is middle of the road (18th, 26-for-33, 78.8 percent) after going just 4-for-7 in Detroit on Saturday.

Kimmo Timonen said the Flyers’ biggest detriment on special teams is that they hardly spent any time in the preseason practicing them.

“Power play is all about chemistry, the confidence, knowing exactly where everyone is,” Timonen said. “We didn’t practice that in the preseason at all. I knew it was going to be trouble at the beginning of the year and it has been.”

Under coach Craig Berube, assistant coach Joe Mullen remains in control of the power play. The penalty killing coaching responsibilities have shifted to Ian Laperriere.

“The power play needs to score,” Berube said. “I hate saying that, but they need to create some momentum for the team by getting some traffic, getting some shots, getting some second and third opportunities around the net. We’ve got to get ‘em going.”

“When you take seven penalties against Detroit, you’re going to be in trouble. You can’t do that. The penalty kill, so far this year, has been good. I just didn’t like it last game.”

Last season, the Flyers’ power play started out 3-for-31 before rebounding to finish third in the NHL at 21.6 percent. But with the Flyers’ silent offense, they’ll take a goal any way they can find one.

For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers

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Frank Seravalli Daily News Sports Columnist
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