Flyers fall short again, losing to Coyotes, 2-1

Posted: October 14, 2013

THE FLYERS set a new record for franchise futility last night.

Today, they will need to try to break out of their slump in Detroit without the help of two of their top six forwards.

Both Vincent Lecavalier and Scott Hartnell left last night's 2-1 loss against the Phoenix Coyotes with vague injuries and did not accompany the team on their charter flight to the Motor City. The Flyers have scored only six goals and set a record for fewest goals in their first five games to start a season.

Despite a barrage of quality scoring chances, the Flyers managed to sneak only one of a season-high 37 shots behind Phoenix backup Thomas Greiss.

"We had some good looks," coach Craig Berube said. "We're not desperate enough around the net, and we don't have enough traffic around the net getting second and third opportunities. We need to get some greasy goals."

The only greasy thing about the Flyers' offensively challenged start to the season is that it is quickly slipping away. The Flyers open their season with eight out of their first 11 games at the Wells Fargo Center in a comparatively quiet October, and they're just 1-4.

Last night, there was a multitude of alarming signs of offense. The Flyers went 0-for-3 on the power play; Adam Hall missed a first-period penalty shot; Lecavalier flubbed on a near point-blank shot; Wayne Simmonds missed a wide-open net; and even when they did get important power plays, silly mistakes like high-sticking on the ensuing faceoff sent the next faceoff all the way back in front of goalie Steve Mason.

Claude Giroux doesn't have a single point in five games - one game short of his career high at any point in a season.

For the second time in three home games, the Flyers were upended by a team that played the night before. Plenty of the 19,713 in attendance express their displeasure with the Flyers.

Now, the Flyers will be without first-line winger Hartnell (upper-body injury) and Lecavalier (lower-body injury), who has been one of their more consistent players to start. Both players will be out "at least a week," according to general manager Paul Holmgren.

Both Hartnell and Lecavalier will need MRIs to further investigate their injuries. Holmgren said more information will be available today.

Replays were inconclusive as to exactly what happened to either player. Hartnell left after the first period. Lecavalier took his last shift with 48 seconds remaining in the second period.

"I didn't see what happened at all," Berube said.

For the fourth time in a row, Mason (1-3-0) gave the Flyers a chance to win. All three of his losses this season were 2-1 decisions. Berube said he saw an improvement in the Flyers' defensive zone play without the puck, something that was a bigger focal point this week.

But it's painfully clear exactly what is missing to both Berube and Holmgren.

"We're fighting it right now," Holmgren said. "I thought we had enough opportunities to score. Obviously, we're having a difficult time. When we shoot at their net, we don't have anyone in front of it - but plenty of people off to the sides."

Berube stressed at Thursday's practice that the Flyers couldn't get frustrated with the Coyotes' disciplined forecheck and defensive-zone play. Phoenix doesn't allow many chances.

"It's a tight game," Max Talbot said. "Phoenix plays really tight hockey, and they came in and played well. We worked hard and did some good things, but it's a process."

It is a process, for sure, especially with a new head coach. But time is one luxury the reeling Flyers do not have.

"The fact that we're pressing doesn't help," Holmgren said. "We're need to turn it around quickly here."

After Adam Hall's failed penalty shot attempt, the Flyers are now 19-for-48 all-time. Interestingly, that was the Flyers' second penalty shot awarded in three home games, when they've averaged exactly one person season . . . When asked when Erik Gustafsson might get a shot in the lineup, Craig Berube responded, "I don't have an answer for that one." Gustafsson, 24, has been a healthy scratch all five games so far. He averaged north of 20 minutes in 27 games last season . . . Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli attended the game on a scouting mission for Team Canada.


On Twitter: @DNFlyers

Blog: ph.ly/FrequentFlyers

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