Flyers fall to Devils, off to worst start since 1994-95

Flyers fall to Devils, off to worst start since 1994-95
January 22, 2013, 11:45 pm
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NEWARK, N.J. -- It's funny how lockouts seem to repeat themselves.
 
In the lockout shortened 1994-95 season, the Flyers staggered out of the gate, 0-3.
 
Here we are 18 years later in a lockout-shortened season and they’re 0-3. Again.
 
Time to worry?
 
“I think so,” goalie Ilya Bryzgalov said after Marty Brodeur threw his 10th shutout at the Flyers on Tuesday night in the Devils' 3-0 home-opening win at the Prudential Center.
 
“It’s not time for panic, but we have to tighten all screws," Bryzgalov added. "For us, after a bad start, we can’t lose games anymore because we might not get out of the bottom of the standings.”

Three games in, the Flyers have been outscored, 11-3. No Danny Briere -- he’s injured. No Jaromir Jagr -- he’s in Dallas. No fiery bluster, either.

“We have to find more offense,” Max Talbot understated.
 
The only consolation is that no one else in the Atlantic Division played.
 
“I wouldn’t say crisis, but it’s fair to say the next game is a must-win,” Wayne Simmonds said.
 
“I thought we played decent for the first little bit and then we kind of took penalties, they got on the power play and our power play could not finish opportunities. That’s where the game was lost.”

The Flyers were 0 for 6 on the power play. They’re a stunning 1 for 15 on the season.
 
“There’s been opportunities we’ve had on the power play to get back into the game or even early on to take leads,” Simmonds said. “We got to figure that out pretty quick here. We’re getting chances. I gotta take part of the responsibility. I’m the net-front guy. I’ve got to be harder, I guess.”
 
Added team captain Claude Giroux, “It’s not a secret -- we gotta work on it.”

While the Flyers are starved for goals -- they've registered just 3 on 80 official shots for the season -- the Devils scored three goals on their first five shots of the game against Bryzgalov, though those opportunities spread into the second period.
 
Meanwhile, the Flyers were scorched on a penalty shot, faced a couple more 5-on-3 penalty kills and even had an “abuse of the officials” bench minor called on them.

They owned the Devils in the opening period, allowing them no shots for 12:29. But they still trailed, 2-0, at intermission.

Travis Zajac got an easy rebound at 1:07 with no Flyers defenseman within 20 feet of the net after a bad change.
 
The Flyers held a 9-2 advantage in shots and two power plays but couldn’t dent Brodeur.
 
They even used rookie Tye McGinn, making his NHL debut, as a big body parked in front of the crease, but it didn’t work.
 
In the final 25 seconds of the frame, with Braydon Coburn in the box for interference, David Clarkson took an errant point shot from behind the net, wheeled around and fired on Bryzgalov, who had lost his stick.
 
The puck hit Ruslan Fedotenko’s skate and went in on the far side.

If you had to pick a pivotal moment that simply deflated the Flyers, that was it. The game went all downhill from there.

“We had a lot of good intentions to start the game, and you’re down and find yourself on the wrong end of it, 3-0,” coach Peter Laviolette said.
 
“It gets a little frustrating at times. I think the guys are frustrated.”

If that wasn’t bad enough, the Flyers were again victimized by their horrid special teams.

Sunday afternoon in Buffalo, it was the penalty kill. Tuesday night, it was the power(less) play, as Kimmo Timonen had a giveaway at the blue line to Ilya Kovalchuk and had no choice but to haul him down.

That set up a shorthanded penalty shot that Kovalchuk backhanded over Bryzgalov for a 3-0 lead just 2:44 into the second period.

Laviolette didn’t think his club completely lacked, although there doesn’t seem to be much net-crashing going on.
 
“I thought it was the most competitive that we showed up to start and play the game,” he said. “Certainly, I’d like to see us build off that. I didn’t like it in Buffalo.
 
“We addressed it and I think we came [in] with the right attitude tonight. Not the right results after the first period.”
 
Before the period ended, Clarkson steamrolled Timonen. Simmonds answered by cross-checking Brodeur.
 
And the Flyers didn’t have any enforcers in their lineup.
 
Fighting, however, isn’t going to solve goal-scoring or special teams issues.
 
“There’s lots of little things we can do,” Laviolette said. “I don’t think it’s a No. 1 thing and if we fix [the] No. 1 thing, we’ll be all set.
 
“There’s a lot of little things. We’ll continue to look at it and work at it. It was unfortunate to come out of the first period like we did.”

Loose pucks
Prior to 1994-95, the only other 0-3 start was 1989-90. The club has never started the season with four losses in regulation … Brodeur’s shutout was his first against the Flyers since March 1, 2009. It was also his 120th career shutout … Claude Giroux won 70 percent of his faceoffs (14 for 20) … McGinn, in his NHL debut, had one shot and one hit in 12:13. He played on the second-unit power play with Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier ... Timonen ripped a shot into Scott Hartnell seven minutes into the third period.  He was literally #hartnelldown and labored to play the remainder of the game. He was walking gingerly and had an ice bag on his left foot after the game ... The Flyers used 7 defensive pairs in the game.

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