Flyers finish brutal opening run of road games
The Flyers are finished.
This game Wednesday night against the Penguins at Consol Energy Center wrapped a brutal early-season stretch that featured 12 of 18 on the road, including the past six contests.
“Personally, I liked it,” center Zac Rinaldo said. “My personality is go-go-go, so I'm comfortable with that.”
The Flyers, though, were in an uncomfortable position before facing the Penguins — 10th in the Eastern Conference, two points from a playoff spot, and with at least two more games played than four clubs ahead of them in the standings.
Another way to look at it is that the Flyers have only 30 more games to play during this truncated NHL season.
However, 18 of those will be staged at Wells Fargo Center, where the Flyers are 4-1-1.
“We're still trying to get in sync here a little bit,” center Danny Briere said. “It still seems we've been inconsistent at times. That's probably the most frustrating part.”
The Flyers did not lack for reasons to feel frustrated through the first third of their schedule:
• Only 10 players were at even-or-better plus/minus ratings.
• First-year captain Claude Giroux, the NHL's third-leading scorer last season, had gone without a point in nine games.
• Center Max Talbot, who notched 19 goals in his debut with the Flyers last season, was without a marker.
• The power play, sixth at 19.7 percent last season, was just off that success rate at 19.1 percent, but only 11th overall.
Talbot said there were “a lot of” similarities between these Flyers and the group that upended the Penguins in Round 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs last April.
He also conceded there were “a couple” of differences.
Veteran right winger Jaromir Jagr left as a free agent. Injuries depleted a defense that already lacked a menacing presence. Left winger Scott Hartnell, with 61 goals to his credit the past two seasons, had been limited to only three games.
“We want to play the same way, and we haven't changed much of what we've been doing,” Talbot said, ignoring a report Monday in the Philadelphia Daily News that noted significant tweaks to coach Peter Laviolette's system.
The Flyers face the Florida Panthers on Thursday night. It will wrap their sixth instance of games on consecutive nights.
Laviolette noted that a road game will have been part of that mix each time.
The Penguins play games on consecutive nights only seven times during the season.
Getting home should help calm any nerves, Rinaldo said.
Still, even a stretch of games in Philadelphia is not ideal.
“For the most part guys like being in one spot,” Rinaldo said. “For me, I think better players play better on the road.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins co-owner Lemieux snuffs rumored rift with Crosby
- Crosby scores twice, Malkin delivers OT goal as Penguins beat Blues
- Penguins notebook: Blues defenseman Bortuzzo sticks to brutish ways
- Penguins’ Perron returning to form
- Occupying playoff spot on Thanksgiving good harbinger for Penguins
- Penguins notebook: Cole more at ease facing former team
- Penguins can’t solve Sharks’ defense in defeat
- Hard-hitting Penguins veteran winger Kunitz is last of a dying breed
- Starkey: Farewell to NHL fighting
- Malkin, Crosby come through as Penguins hold on for win
- Penguins notebook: Sharks assistants run game in DeBoer’s place