Flyers lose to Hurricanes, 2-1, for three-game losing streak
RALEIGH, N.C. - It took them three games, but the Flyers finally scored their first even-strength goal of the season. The only problem is that one goal won't win you many hockey games.
Even the blaring Hurricane warning siren in PNC Arena, once made famous by pro wrestler Ric Flair during Peter Laviolette's heyday in Carolina, couldn't shake the Flyers' offense from their doldrums last night.
Without any support for Steve Mason, the Flyers returned home from their two-game road trip winless after dropping a 2-1 decision to the once cure-all 'Canes. The Flyers, who entered on a 25-4-4 run against Carolina, had scored four or more goals in 10 of their last 16 games against the Hurricanes.
"We've got a lot of potential," Mark Streit said. "But so far, we really haven't shown it."
The Flyers are 0-3 for the second season in a row - and a different kind of warning siren is growing louder with each game.
The Flyers managed to put just one goal past Carolina backup Anton Khudobin and a defense that ranked 29th in goals-against last season. Oh, and the Hurricanes were without longtime defenseman Tim Gleason, who missed the game due to injury.
"It's the same story," captain Claude Giroux said. "It just won't go in."
Even including their two power-play goals, the Flyers have netted a total of three goals in their first three games. Minor league call-up Kris Newbury has more points (1) in one game with the Flyers than Giroux, Scott Hartnell, Jake Voracek and Wayne Simmonds have combined.
This marks the 10th time in his 336-game career Giroux has gone three games or more in a row without a point - but the longest he's gone to start a season. Giroux scored a goal in each of the Flyers' season-opening games the past 3 years in a row.
By comparison, the Hurricanes haven't gotten a point from either Eric Staal, Alexander Semin or Jordan Staal and they're still 1-0-1.
"It's difficult to see them struggling right now," Mason said. "Things just aren't happening for us right now. That's frustrating, but we've just got to keep working through it."
Last night, the Flyers never got off on the right foot. They were outshot, 17-5, to start the game and were pounded in the faceoff circle, winning just 38 percent of the draws.
Normally, completing back-to-back road games with start times 22 hours apart would be an excuse. It's tough to fathom the Flyers would be that tired, though, in just the third game of the season.
"It shouldn't be an excuse," Giroux said. "Every team has to do it. We've got to fight through it."
At one point in the first period, Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner had as many shots (4) as the Flyers' entire team.
Luke Schenn finally got the Flyers on the board early in the second period when his shot from the lower circle redirected past Khudobin with the help of bodies in front, tying the score. The Schenn brothers have accounted for two of the Flyers' three goals.
Carolina quickly responded, thanks to a rushed Schenn outlet pass that bounced off Skinner's skate directly to Radek Dvorak in front. The play perfectly encapsulated the Flyers' lack of precision in their own end to start the season.
"Offensively, if you're not scoring, then everything else in the game has to be perfect," Laviolette said. "Especially early on, we were sloppy in our play. Our execution was off, I would say, in general."
Mason was nearly perfect, giving the Flyers every opportunity to win. He stopped 32 of 34 shots. Poor defensive zone play - from both forwards and defensemen - kept the Hurricanes buzzing around him for stretches of minutes at a time. Last night was Mason's first career loss (5-1-0) against Carolina.
Very clearly, goaltending is not the problem.
"We wanted to get off to a good start and we're 0-3. That's obviously not good," Kimmo Timonen said. "The last two games, the final push has been missing. When you have to make a statement, for some reason, we haven't been able to do that. The last two games, it looked like we were standing still. There's going to be ups and downs in a season, but this is the first test for us. If we start blaming people and not play as a team, we're going to be 0-6 soon."
This weekend was the Flyers' first of 14 back-to-back sets this season . . . One bright spot: The Flyers' penalty kill did not allow a goal on four chances. They are now 12-for-15 (80 percent) on the young season . . . Winger Kris Newbury picked up his first point in his first game as a Flyer, an assist on Schenn's goal. Newbury was scratched for the first two games in favor of Jay Rosehill, who sat out last night . . . Defenseman Erik Gustafsson took part in warmups but did not play . . . The Flyers have a day off today.
On Twitter: @DNFlyers