Road work ahead: Flyers begin trip in Edmonton

Posted: December 29, 2013

The Flyers have been a tale of two teams lately.

They have won nine straight games at home, and have lost five in a row on the road, which is where they will be for the next six games.

The trip starts Saturday night in Edmonton. The Oilers will be playing their second game in as many nights, and Edmonton goalie Ilya Bryzgalov will get the call against his former teammates.

"I'm sure they'll play him," Flyers winger Scott Hartnell said with a smile after Friday's practice in Voorhees. "Better for you guys, better story, better for Hockey Night in Canada. It'll give everyone something to talk about. The main thing for us is getting the two points and making this a great road trip, and it starts with the first one."

"It's just another game of hockey," Bryzgalov told Edmonton reporters.

Entering Friday, Bryzgalov was 2-4 with a 2.80 goals-against average and .915 save percentage since Edmonton signed him as a free agent last month. He missed two weeks with a concussion.

"I like Bryz," Hartnell said. "He was a goofy guy. I think you had to know how to take his personality."

The Flyers, having faced Bryzgalov in practice the previous two years, "know where to shoot, and know what to do, and know what creates havoc for him," Hartnell added.

"Our team needs to not worry about - first of all - him and who's in net," said Flyers coach Craig Berube. "They need to worry about their game and how they need to play to get two points. That's it. And if they don't do that, they're not going to be successful. That's the kind of stuff I'm talking about - to think properly and get your head right before the game."

Hartnell, who spent the holidays visiting with his brother in Halifax and skating with his nieces and nephews on their outdoor rink, said the Flyers need to start "thriving" in hostile road environments.

"We've got to take the energy we have at home and create that on the road and get some wins," he said.

In addition to Edmonton, the Flyers will play in Vancouver, Calgary, Colorado, Phoenix and New Jersey.

"We haven't been out West for a few years, and with the time change and everything, we have to be prepared. We have to get some rest and bring home some [points]," said winger Jake Voracek, who has points in eight straight games, a career best.

"I think coming into the New Year, we can start solidifying our game on the road a little more," defenseman Braydon Coburn said. "I think we've learned some good lessons, especially on the last road trip. . . . We have to play a simple game; we have to make sure we stick to our plan and no matter what happens, really try to hammer out those close games."

"Whether you're home or away . . . you need to play with the same intensity," center Claude Giroux said.

Breakaways. Winger Steve Downie, who has missed the last two games with an upper body injury, skated and continued to make strides; he will likely return to the lineup Saturday.


scarchidi@phillynews.com

@BroadStBull

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