The Flyers are having some well-documented issues slipping the
biscuit past the heavily armored man standing in front of a goal that must look
awfully tiny right now. Head coach Peter Laviolette hopes the answer is pairing
the club’s two purest scorers on a line together.
When the team is back in action at the Washington Capitals
on Friday, Danny Briere will be joining captain Claude Giroux and Wayne
Simmonds on the Flyers’ top line. As Sarah Baicker points out, Briere and
Giroux were playing on the same line together for just about every possible
situation while they were in Germany during the lockout.
Lavvy elaborated on the decision to pair the two:
“I think it’s a nice complement,”
Laviolette said. “One sees the ice really well, and one can put the puck in the
back of the net really well. I think a lot of players might enjoy playing with
Claude too, because he does see the ice and he is able to make a lot of plays.
So when you’ve got somebody who’s a natural goal-scorer like Danny, it could be
a good fit.
“They played well in the third period in New York, so we’ll try it.”
It’s certainly worth a try. Philadelphia is averaging two
goals per game, tied for 24th in the NHL. They’ve only managed to find the back
of the net more than two times in a contest once, the main reason why they are
all alone in the Atlantic Division cellar through seven games.
Of course, that doesn’t address the Philly’s struggling power
play, which still ranks 23rd with a 13.5% conversion rate. In back-to-back
losses to the Lightning and Rangers, the Flyers came up empty handed on huge
advantages that could have swung the momentum: four minutes of 5-on-4 in Tampa
Bay, and a 5-on-3 in New York.
You have to think with all their talent, offense will come.
But Scott Hartnell is still out for awhile, and youngsters Sean Couturier, Matt
Read, and Brayden Schenn have yet to make a consistent mark. The team is also
feeling the loss of Andrej Meszaros, one of their better defensemen with the
The good news is the Capitals may be just the opponent the
Flyers need for a spark. Washington is second behind only the Florida Panthers
for goals allowed at 3.67 per game.
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