Inside the Flyers: Facing six-game trip, Flyers must end road woes

Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov can't stop a penalty shot by the Devils' Ilya Kovalchuk in Newark, N.J., where the Flyers suffered one of their five road losses.
Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov can't stop a penalty shot by the Devils' Ilya Kovalchuk in Newark, N.J., where the Flyers suffered one of their five road losses. (JULIO CORTEZ / AP)
Posted: February 11, 2013

If the Flyers continue their awful road pace, they will miss the Stanley Cup playoffs for just the second time in the last 18 seasons.

Yes, the Flyers' 1-5 road record is a small sample. Yes, they can turn it around. Yes, it's early.

But not as early as you might think.

The Flyers will begin their longest road stretch of the season Monday in Toronto. The game will match players traded for one another in the offseason, Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn and Maple Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk. That will start a six-game swing that will also take them to Winnipeg, New Jersey, Montreal, the New York Islanders, and Pittsburgh.

When the trip ends, the Flyers will have played 18 games, which, in a lockout-shortened schedule, computes to 37.5 percent of their season.

In other words, this road trip carries a lot more weight than it would in a normal season.

Schenn says the Flyers need to simplify things.

"They don't have to be pretty games at all," he said. "You have to play a hard-nosed style of hockey on the road. It's more of a grinding effort. We're going to have to get to the tough areas and compete."

The Flyers' early road woes are surprising. This was a team that bonded and played terrific hockey away from the Wells Fargo Center last season. The Flyers finished 25-13-3 on the road, which tied Boston for the most away wins in the NHL.

Their lone road win this year was a 7-1 blowout in Florida. In the other five road games, they have managed a total of six goals.

"Our starts on the road haven't been where they need to be," said forward Brayden Schenn, Luke's brother, "and they're getting their team into it more and their fans into it more."

The numbers support Schenn. The Flyers have led after the first period in just one of their six road games, building a 3-0 lead in the win over Florida. In the other five road games, they have been outscored by a combined 10-1 in the opening periods.

Center Sean Couturier said the Flyers have been too passive on the road.

"We've got to play the same way we play at home, get good starts and play with the lead," Couturier said. "Put pressure on teams and attack. The game is all about attack."

"There's no question we have a huge road trip coming up," Luke Schenn said. "We obviously need to play a lot better on the road."

Especially when they have an extra attacker. Entering Saturday, the Flyers' power play had clicked at 29.4 percent at home and just 12.5 percent on the road.

On the bright side, if the Flyers come off this trip in good shape, they will have survived a brutal early-season schedule - 12 of their first 18 games on the road - and will be left with lots of home cooking.


Inside the Flyers: Slow Starting On the Road

The Flyers, off to a sluggish start, are trying to regain the dominance they displayed on the road last season. Here are the numbers:

Worst road records (2013)

(entering weekend)

Capitals 0-4-1

FLYERS 1-5

Wild 0-3-1

Avalanche 1-4

Coyotes 0-2-1

Best road records (2011-12)

FLYERS 25-13-3

Canucks 24-12-5

Rangers 24-12-5

Bruins 25-15-1

Devils 24-15-2

- Sam Carchidi


Contact Sam Carchidi at scarchidi@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @BroadStBull.

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