Flyers' Read ready to return

Posted: January 15, 2014

BUFFALO - Winger Matt Read, who has been sidelined by concussion symptoms, is likely to return to the lineup Tuesday in Buffalo, and maybe he can help the Flyers overcome a recent habit of falling behind early in games.

That habit hadn't become a big issue because of the team's uncanny ability to rally for late victories.

There were no comeback wins in their last two games, however, and because of losses to Tampa Bay and the Rangers, the Flyers have slipped from second to fourth place in the competitive Metropolitan Division.

"We weren't ready," Flyers coach Craig Berube said as the Flyers fell into a 3-0, first-period hole and dropped a 4-1 decision to the New York Rangers on Sunday night in Madison Square Garden.

It marked the first time this season the Flyers had allowed three goals in the opening period.

"We were a half step slower than them," right winger Jake Voracek said.

Before the weekend, the Flyers were on a 10-2-1 run but had struggled at the outset of games. They led after the first period in just five of those 13 games.

They were able to overcome the slow starts because of strong finishes. Since Dec. 4, they have won six games by overcoming third-period deficits.

Read has missed the last six games, but is getting "closer" to returning, general manager Paul Holmgren said on Monday.

A decision on whether Read plays against lowly Buffalo will be made after he takes part in the morning skate, Holmgren said. But the fact that winger Tye McGinn was sent back down to Adirondack on Monday seems to indicate that the Flyers believe Read (10 goals in 39 games) will be ready.

The Flyers (23-19-4), currently the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference, will be looking for a better start Tuesday in Buffalo (13-26-5). The Sabres ended an 11-game road losing streak Sunday with a 2-1 shootout win in Washington.

Buffalo has the fewest points (31) in the NHL, and the Sabres are averaging a league-low 1.61 goals per game.

Leino struggling

Ville Leino, who helped the Flyers make their improbable run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2010, has no goals and six points in 27 games with the Sabres this season. He returned to the lineup Sunday after missing three games with a lower-body injury.

Since signing a six-year, $27 million free-agent deal in 2011, Leino has just 10 goals in 106 games with the Sabres. He has had injury problems in Buffalo, and underwent hip surgery in the offseason.

Leino had 21 points (seven goals, 14 assists) and was plus-10 in 19 playoff games for the Flyers in 2010, and he had a career year the next season (19 goals, 53 points, plus-14) before signing with Buffalo that summer.


Entering Monday, the Flyers had allowed the NHL's most penalty minutes per game (16.3) and had the most minor penalties (207). . . . The Flyers have lost two straight in regulation for the first time since Nov. 27. . . . The Flyers fired a season-high 46 shots on goal in their previous meeting with Buffalo.


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