Flyers try to put embarrassing loss behind

Flyers captain Mike Richards talks to goalie Sergei Bobrovsky during Thursday's loss to Tampa Bay. Richards says the team has to learn how to win close games.
Flyers captain Mike Richards talks to goalie Sergei Bobrovsky during Thursday's loss to Tampa Bay. Richards says the team has to learn how to win close games.
Posted: November 20, 2010

After suffering consecutive losses for the first time in nearly a month, the Flyers will try to rebound Saturday night at Washington, the NHL's points leader.

The Flyers are coming off Thursday's embarrassing 8-7 loss to Tampa Bay, a game in which they blew three two-goal leads. In franchise history, it equaled the most goals ever scored by the Flyers in a defeat.

On the heels of that loss, the Flyers face a deep, explosive Washington team that entered Friday's game in Atlanta with an NHL-best average of 3.63 goals per game.

"If we play the same way we did [Thursday] night, they're going to score 14 on us," center Danny Briere said after Friday's practice in Voorhees. "They're going to be coming at us in more waves, so our defensive game is going to be the key."

The Flyers, who are third in the league in scoring (3.5 goals per game), lost too many puck battles and played with little discipline Thursday night. On the power play, Tampa was 3 for 9, the Flyers were 0 for 4.

"The word today was to focus on details," Briere said. "Not just defensively, but the little things - in the neutral zone, getting out of our zone. . . . And, obviously, penalties. We took too many, and every time they came into our zone, the puck seemed to go into the back of our net - whether it was blown coverage or bad bounces or whatever it was. That's where we have to be a little sharper."

Briere said the Flyers may have developed bad habits in consecutive lopsided wins over Carolina, 8-1; Florida, 5-2, and Ottawa, 5-1. Those victories preceded a 3-0 loss in Montreal.

"Ottawa was a blowout, Carolina was a blowout, Florida was a blowout," Briere said.

In the third periods of those contests, "we didn't have to play very hard because the game was out of hand for the other team and we kind of coasted," he said. "You get bad habits. It showed a little in the Montreal game, and it really" carried into the Tampa shoot-out.

Said Mike Richards: "It's nice to win games, 5-1, but we have to learn how to win those tight games."

The Flyers are 4-6 in games decided by one goal.

After facing Washington, the Flyers host Montreal on Monday. That will be three straight games against teams that defeated the Flyers in their first meetings this season.

The Flyers failed to avenge the first loss to Tampa. Now they have a chance against the Capitals and Canadiens.

"We're angry for those two games ahead," winger Ville Leino said.

They need to control their anger against Alexander Semin (25 points, 14 goals), Alex Ovechkin (25 points, 10 goals), Nicklas Backstrom (21 points) and Co. and stay out of the penalty box. The Caps have a potent power play; the Flyers lead the league in minor penalties (110).

"They will score if they get power-play time, so we just have to keep moving our legs and working to win the battles so we don't have to reach and put our stick somewhere where it shouldn't be," Leino said.

In the Flyers' 3-2 OT loss in Washington on Nov. 7, the power play was the difference - the Caps were 2 for 6, the Flyers 0 for 2.

Breakaways

Goalie Michael Leighton, recovering from back surgery, continues to practice with the Flyers and said he would like to rehab with the AHL Phantoms for a few games to sharpen his skills. GM Paul Holmgren said the Flyers "may look into" a conditioning stint for Leighton. . . . Leino said negotiations between his agent, Bill Zito, and Holmgren will be "a little bit of a process." . . . Scoring changes: Braydon Coburn, not Scott Hartnell was credited with the Flyers' fourth goal Thursday (with an assist added to Leino), and James van Riemsdyk, not Claude Giroux, was given an assist on their third goal. Fifteen Flyers had points, their highest total since a 1988 game in Detroit. Ironically, Giroux, their leading scorer, had no points. . . . Late in Thursday's game, Darroll Powe crashed into the boards, but he practiced Friday and will play Saturday. . . . In their 12 wins, the Flyers' power play is 16 for 55 (29 percent). In their eight losses, their power play is 1 for 35 (2.9 percent).


 

Read The Inquirer's Flyers blog, "Broad Street Bull,"

by Sam Carchidi at


Contact staff writer Sam Carchidi at 215-854-5181 or scarchidi@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BroadStBull.

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