One of the most perplexing parts of the Flyers’ up-and-down season has been their inability to take advantage of home ice.
No longer do opponents cringe when they play in Philadelphia.
The Flyers are the only team in a playoff spot that has more losses (19) than wins (17) at home. They are just 17-13-6 at home after going 25-11-5 last season.
“Home-ice advantage is usually pretty huge, and we’ve always had success here at the Wells Fargo,” captain Claude Giroux said before the Flyers lost to visiting Columbus, 5-3, on Thursday. “We haven’t had the success that we’re looking for at home [this season], but at the same time we have a lot of games at home coming up and it’s important for us to get those wins.”
Giroux thinks the Flyers may be trying too hard to please their home fans.
“Maybe we put too much pressure on ourselves,” he said. “But at the end of the day, it has to be an advantage for us.”
Conversely, the Flyers have played extremely well on the road (18-12-5). Entering Thursday, no Metropolitan team had more road wins than the Flyers.
“Maybe we try to be too pretty at home and try to put on a show,” winger Michael Raffl said. “I don’t think we’re a team like that. That’s what has given us success on the road – it doesn’t have to be beautiful, it has to be effective. Play simple and get a couple greasy ones instead of making that extra pass that makes it look unreal.”
The Flyers have five of their remaining 11 games at the Wells Fargo Center. They are in danger of recording fewer than 20 home wins for just the second time in 21 seasons, excluding the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign.
Left winger Matthew Strome, 19, selected by the Flyers in the fourth round of the draft last June, signed an entry-level contract Thursday.
The 6-foot-4. 206-pound Strome has 37 goals and 68 points in 64 games with Hamilton in the Ontario Hockey League this season. He is the younger brother of NHL players Dylan Strome (Arizona) and Ryan Strome (Edmonton).
According to CapFriendly.com, Strome’s three-year deal is worth an average of $925,000 per season.
In the last nine games before Thursday, the Flyers’ power play was 3 for 30, while their penalty kill had allowed seven goals in 24 opportunities. … Shayne Gostisbehere is averaging 0.77 points per game. The Flyers have had only three defensemen in franchise history average more than that while playing at least 60 games in a season: Mark Howe (four times), Garry Galley, and Behn Wilson.