Flyers need to do better after 'ugly' win

Flyers right wing Wayne Simmonds celebrates with goalie Steve Mason. (Mark Humphrey/AP)
Flyers right wing Wayne Simmonds celebrates with goalie Steve Mason. (Mark Humphrey/AP)
Posted: December 03, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS - The Flyers got the result they wanted - a 3-2 shootout win in Nashville on Saturday night - but they need to play much better if their six-game road trip is going to be a success.

They stole two points against the injury-riddled Predators because goalie Steve Mason was brilliant and because their penalty kill, led by the blossoming Sean Couturier, was 5 for 5.

"I didn't think we were very sharp, but they hung in there and battled," said coach Craig Berube, whose team plays in Minnesota on Monday night. "A win is a win. The team showed character, and that's what's important, but we have some things that need to get ironed out."

If they can beat Minnesota (15-8-5), the Flyers (12-12-2) will climb above .500 for the first time this season. They are 11-5-2 since their franchise-worst 1-7 start.

In Saturday's win, the Flyers were outshot, 36-24, and a majority of the game was spent in their defensive zone.

"We gave up too many odd-man rushes," Berube said. "We didn't play good enough without the puck. Didn't check good enough, and when you do that, they have the puck too much and we don't have it enough."

The Flyers, slowed by five penalties, had little offensive rhythm. They didn't have much attack time even though they faced an injury-riddled Nashville defense that was minus Shea Weber and Kevin Klein.

The Predators used defensemen who had a combined 305 NHL games. By comparison, the Flyers' defensemen had a total of 3,046 NHL games.

Yet, it was the Predators who had much better scoring chances.

On Monday, the Flyers will face a Wild team that has a similar identity. Like the Flyers, the Wild are built around strong goaltending - when is the last time you could say that about the Flyers? - and has had problems scoring.

Minnesota, which is 10-3-2 at home, entered Sunday eighth in the NHL in goals allowed per game (2.25) and 23d in scoring (2.32), while the Flyers were 10th in goals surrendered (2.38), and their offense ranked 27th with an average of 2.15 per game.


One Down, Five to Go

Here is the rest of the Flyers' road trip, which began Saturday in Nashville:

Date, Opp. Time

Mon., Wild 8

Wed., Red Wings 8

Sat., Stars 2

Dec. 9, Senators 7:30

Dec. 11, Blackhawks 8


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