The Flyers, their attack needing a jump-start, will conclude a rare home-and-home series Tuesday in Minnesota.
They hope to generate more offense than they did in the first meeting between the teams, a 1-0 Wild win Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center.
“I thought we did a good job at the end, creating some havoc there,” Flyers goalie Brian Elliott said of his team’s late flurry, “but you know it takes a full 60 minutes of that usually to break that kind of defense.”
“It was grind out there, not a lot of space,” said center Sean Couturier, who had six of the Flyers’ 32 shots. “I don’t think we gave up a lot, either. We kind of knew that was their style of play and I thought it could have went either way.”
It was the fourth time the Flyers (8-7-2) have been blanked in just 17 games, putting them on a pace to suffer 19 shutouts.
The club record for getting shut out in a season: 10 times in 1968-69, back when Andre Lacroix (56 points) and Jean-Guy Gendron (55) were the team’s leading scorers and the only players to reach 20 goals.
The Wild kept the Flyers to the outside, clogged the middle, and didn’t give them many quality chances.
“It was almost like a playoff game early in the year,” Couturier said of the limited time and space that was available for both teams.
“I thought we turned down a few opportunities to get pucks to the net in the first period. In particular, from up top with our defensemen,” coach Dave Hakstol said about the latest shutout loss, which ended the Flyers’ five-game winning streak against the Wild. “We didn’t turn down too many shots after that, but we didn’t get to enough rebounds. Obviously, when you don’t get one, you probably want to get a little bit more traffic and find a way to find one of those.”
They will get another crack at the Wild (7-7-2) on Tuesday.
“They played pretty much five guys packed right in front of the net,” right winger Wayne Simmonds said. “We probably needed to maybe pop a guy out or pop a guy up top or something.”
Bothered by several nagging injuries, Simmonds has been playing through the pain and is goal-less in his last nine games. One of the Flyers’ options is resting Simmonds for a few games and recalling diminutive winger Danick Martel, who has an AHL-leading 14 goals in 15 games with the Phantoms.
The 5-foot-8, 167-pound Martel, a speedy and gritty player, is coming off 22- and 20-goal seasons with the Phantoms.
Minnesota, meanwhile, has been led by winger Jason Zucker, who has scored his team’s last six goals.
“I’d like somebody else to score a goal, if it’s OK,” cracked Minnesota coach Bruce Boudreau after Saturday’s win. “But as long as he keeps getting them and we keep winning, we’re going good.”
After playing in Minnesota on Tuesday, the Flyers will face the Jets in Winnipeg on Thursday. Former Flyer Steve Mason has a 1-3-1 record with a 3.76 goals-against average and .892 save percentage in six games with Winnipeg. But he has played well in his last three appearances, stopping 69 of 72 shots.
Elliott, Mason’s replacement, is 6-4-1 with a 2.73 GAA and .908 save percentage. He has a 1.00 GAA and .970 save percentage in his last two games.
Breakaways. The Flyers might recall Mark Alt to be an extra defenseman on the road trip. … Nolan Patrick and Andrew MacDonald are expected to practice with the team on Monday. Both have been sidelined with injuries and are close to returning. … The Flyers (8-7-2) were 7-7-3 at a corresponding point last season.