Flyers looking to recapture road success

Flyers looking to recapture road success
January 29, 2013, 1:00 pm
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NEW YORK -- They may have looked different, at times, under coach Peter Laviolette, but one thing the Flyers have consistently been throughout his tenure is a tough team to play on the road.
 
Last season, the Flyers won a franchise-record 25 road games, breaking a previous record under him.
 
Right now, however, during this lockout-shortened season, the Flyers are terrible on the road – three losses in four games.
 
That has to change Tuesday night starting with the Rangers if they’re serious about making the playoffs.
 
“There’s a couple games on the road that I don’t like,” Laviolette said. “Buffalo and Tampa. I think we need to try and solve that back-to-back better than we have. We haven’t succeeded at that.
 
“I would think we’re going in with the right attitude tonight. The guys had a day off, they’re rested, they come back and we will have that mindset that you need to be successful on the road.
 
“It’s not like I haven’t seen it. I saw it in Florida. I saw it for 27 minutes in New Jersey and the score didn’t reflect properly what happened in New Jersey. There’s room for improvement and that stands out for me.”
 
It’s not unusual for a hockey team to start the season struggling on one of its special teams.
 
Right now, the Flyers have been hit with a double whammy as both their power play and penalty kill are in the bottom third of the league.
 
Better special teams, and the Flyers are undefeated on the road. It’s hard to say which is worse – their power play or their PK units.
 
“We played some good hockey for part of the game the other night [at Tampa],” Max Talbot said. “But we lost the special teams battles. It has to be better.
 
“It [special teams] has cost us. Yeah, there has been some bad bounces with puck not going our way. Doesn’t happen on the power play and then it happens against our PK. You knew how important this was going to be in a short season.”
 
Flyers captain Claude Giroux said the team talks about the power play – 12.9% -- every, single day.
 
“We trying to get better in every situation,” he said.

Most hockey players stress the importance of playing a simple, less complicated game on the road. Giroux is one guy who doesn’t buy into that.
 
“Playing home or away you should not change your game plan,” Giroux said. “You gotta go out there and make sure you show up. Tonight will be a test for us.
 
“I don’t know if they’ll be frustrated or what, but they lost that last game. It’s only a 48-game season and every game is huge. We have to make sure guys are dialed in.”
 
What has to be different from Tampa, besides special teams? Well, for starters, the Flyers need to raise their “compete” level a notch or two.
 
It waned during the second and third period against the Lightning.
 
“I don’t know if it was because back-to-back, but mentally, we weren’t playing right,” Giroux said. “We had a day off and got some rest. Tonight will be a good test for us.”
 
Mike Knuble said that the bad penalties the Flyers took against the Bolts, sapped their will that first period.
 
“We got burned on them,” Knuble said, referring to the Bolts’ 2 power play goals. “It set us back a little bit. Playing a back-to-back game, you need as many positives going for you out of the gate.
 
“To give up a couple power play goals is a little frustrating. We didn’t generate much offensively after that.”
 
If that repeats itself tonight against the Rangers, the Flyers are in trouble.

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