Flyers' win over Detroit big boost for trip

STEVEN M. FALK /STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Goalie Steve Mason stops a shot in the Flyers' 5-0 victory over the Red Wings.
STEVEN M. FALK /STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Goalie Steve Mason stops a shot in the Flyers' 5-0 victory over the Red Wings.
Posted: January 31, 2014

The Flyers believe Tuesday's 5-0 victory over the Detroit Red Wings came just at the right time.

That's because the win ended a four-game losing streak just before they embark on a three-game trip to the West Coast that couldn't be more challenging. It begins Thursday in Anaheim and continues Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles against the Kings before concluding Monday night in San Jose.

Entering Wednesday, Anaheim led the NHL with 83 points. San Jose was in second place in the Pacific Division behind Anaheim with 74 points, and Los Angeles was third with 66.

The Flyers (26-22-6) have 58 points.

More impressive are the home records of the three teams, a combined 56-12-8, with Anaheim (21-2-2) leading the way.

"We have to be ready to go and if you don't bring your 'A' game you are in trouble," Flyers captain Claude Giroux said after practice Wednesday at the Skate Zone.

Even though the Flyers beat a Detroit team depleted by injuries, Giroux, who had a goal and two assists, believes it was a needed springboard to this trip.

"We can take a lot out of that, just our passion and the way we played," said Giroux, who has 16 goals and 34 assists for a team-high 50 points. "We need to carry on to that."

The Flyers also need goalie Steve Mason to revert to his earlier form. He earned his second shutout of the season Tuesday, after having a 4.56 goals-against average and .851 save percentage in his previous six starts.

"It was a good game and I am not looking at it as more than one game," said Mason, who has a 2.57 GAA and .915 save percentage in 40 appearances. "There were good things done and we can build on that for our next start."

While the Flyers feel good about Tuesday's game, Anaheim had a different reaction that night. The Ducks suffered only their second regulation home loss of the season, 4-2 to the Minnesota Wild. Anaheim has now lost two of its last three at the Honda Center, having also fallen to Winnipeg, 3-2, on Jan. 21.

Still, the Flyers know they will have their hands full against the Ducks, who boast five players with a plus-20 or more, led by Corey Perry (plus-26) and Ryan Getzlaf (plus-25). By comparison, the Flyers leaders are Scott Hartnell and Erik Gustafsson, both at plus-6. The Kings and Sharks will also be formidable opponents.

"It is a big road trip, it really is," said Flyers coach Craig Berube, whose team lost, 3-2, to Anaheim on Oct. 29 at the Wells Fargo Center. "We are going to see what we are all about here."

Breakaways. Berube said that Kimmo Timonen, who injured his left foot while blocking a shot in the first period and briefly returned before leaving for good in Tuesday's win, will be available Thursday against the Ducks. Timonen, who left the arena in a walking boot, didn't practice Wednesday. "I knew he was fine [Tuesday] night," Berube said after practice. "We are just making sure and this was just a maintenance day for him." . . . Zac Rinaldo, who missed the last 10 games with a left high-ankle sprain, appears ready to play. When asked if Rinaldo would play Thursday, Berube replied, "Maybe, we'll see. He's ready to play." Rinaldo was originally projected to be out four to six weeks. "Six weeks definitely wasn't for me," Rinaldo said. "I have been able to cut it in half." In a likely corresponding move to make room on the roster for Rinaldo, the Flyers have placed forward Chris VandeVelde on waivers.


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