Flyers are punchless in 2-0 loss to Wild

Flyers coach Craig Berube has been stressing defense during the team's recent successful run.
Flyers coach Craig Berube has been stressing defense during the team's recent successful run. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Posted: December 04, 2013

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Flyers, back in an offensive rut, missed a chance to get over the .500 mark for the first time this season Monday night.

They had two third-period defensive breakdowns that led to Minnesota goals 57 seconds apart and lost a 2-0 decision to the Wild at the Xcel Energy Center.

Jason Pominville got open in front and converted Mikko Koivu's behind-the-goal-line pass to make it 1-0 with 16 minutes, 8 seconds left. It marked the first time the Wild had scored first in the last eight games.

Less than a minute later, an all-alone Charlie Coyle scored on a rebound to put the Wild ahead, 2-0.

It might as well have been 10-0, because the Flyers (12-13-2) had problems generating shots, let alone goals. They finished with 21 shots. The Flyers have scored two goals or fewer in 21 of their 27 games.

"Same story as the start of the year: We just need to get more pucks to the net and maybe more traffic and the puck will start going in," said captain Claude Giroux, whose team was without its top goal scorer, Vinny Lecavalier (back spasms).

The Flyers nearly cut it to 2-1 on a power play with about 12 minutes remaining, but Josh Harding made a diving save to rob Jake Voracek, who appeared to have an open net after taking a feed from Wayne Simmonds.

"There's no reason for me not to score from there," said Voracek, who has three goals after scoring a team-high 22 in last year's 48-game season.

"It's just unbelievable this year. . . . I think I'm thinking too much when get that chance and see the puck laying there. It was a great save by Harding. I think if I would have scored, it could have been a different game."

The Flyers were coming off Saturday's 3-2 shootout win in Nashville, where they were outplayed but won because of Steve Mason's goaltending.

This time, it was goalie Ray Emery who kept the Flyers in it. Emery got the start, in part, because he had a 4-0-1 career record against the Wild.

Emery made a key stop on Zach Parise in the first, then robbed Kyle Brodziak, who was alone in front with 2:48 to go in the first period. Brodziak took a corner pass from Torrey Mitchell after a turnover by Flyers defenseman Andrej Meszaros.

With 8:45 to play in the second, Emery stopped Parise, who came in on a two-on-one with Koivu.

At that point, the Wild had both power plays in the game. They were held without a shot both times, thanks to nice work by Matt Read (who played college hockey in Minnesota at Bemidji State) and Sean Couturier.

"Our game plan was to limit their chances against us, kind of like a New Jersey type of game," said Emery, who faced only 21 shots. "It's frustrating that they get two quick ones."

Harding is 11-1 at home. It was his third shutout this season and 10th of his career, and it's difficult to imagine an easier one.

Since they scored 14 goals (including three empty-netters) in a three-game winning streak last month, the Flyers have resumed their offensive struggles.

They were on an 8-2-1 run before being blanked for the third time this season, missing a chance to move into third place in the Metropolitan Division.


scarchidi@phillynews.com

@BroadStBull

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