Reeling Flyers look to reverse fortunes vs. Bruins

Claude Giroux , who is pointless in his last three games, gets checked by Columbus' Artem Anisimov.       Getty Images
Claude Giroux , who is pointless in his last three games, gets checked by Columbus' Artem Anisimov.       Getty Images
Posted: April 06, 2014

The Flyers have been at their best lately against the NHL's elite teams, and that's why it's so surprising that they have come up small in pivotal games against division rivals Columbus and the Rangers.

They were brushed aside by both teams, getting outscored by a combined 5-1 margin.

As a result, the Flyers' chances of catching the Rangers, who are second in the Metropolitan Division, have grown smaller, and they are going to have to fight off pesky Columbus for third place and an automatic playoff spot.

If the Flyers should slip to the final wild-card spot, they would probably meet powerful Boston - the Stanley Cup favorite - in the opening round.

The Flyers play in Boston on Saturday afternoon.

The Flyers, who are four points behind the Rangers but have two games in hand, have suffered consecutive shutouts for the first time since 2009.

"We're not the first team to do it this year," said center Claude Giroux after Friday's practice in Voorhees. "I think the L.A. Kings didn't score for a couple games, and look at them now."

Giroux, who is pointless in his last three games, said the Flyers are "getting chances, but it's just not going in. We just have to stick with it and not try to change the program."

"This time of year, things tighten up and you don't get the easy goals," coach Craig Berube said. "You've got to work for things. You've got to get to the net, get rebounds and get some dirty goals."

On Saturday afternoon, the Flyers face the league's second-best defensive team. The Bruins, who are tied with St. Louis for the most points (111) in the NHL, allow just 2.09 goals per game.

The Flyers' offensive struggles are connected to their power-play slump. They are 0 for 11 with the extra skater over the last three games, and they failed to connect four times in Thursday's 2-0 loss to Columbus, including three power plays in the opening period.

"We had no urgency, no battle," center Brayden Schenn said of the power play against the Blue Jackets. "We had three power plays in the first, and we could have put them away if we capitalized. Obviously we weren't shooting the puck enough."

Backup goalie Ray Emery will oppose the Bruins, who scored a 4-3 shootout win over the Flyers on Sunday despite being outshot, 52-30. Emery has a 1.60 goals-against average and .947 save percentage in his last three starts.

"We have lots of games coming up, and we need both of our goalies," said Berube, who will play Steve Mason against visiting Buffalo on Sunday night.


scarchidi@phillynews.com

@BroadStBull

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