Dropping the Gloves: Flyers' scoring struggles
The Flyers have scored more than three goals in a game just once this season. (USA Today Images)
Does anyone believe in the Flyers? Do the Flyers believe in themselves? Where’s Dr. Phil when you need him?
Flyers captain Claude Giroux says the team’s overall confidence level is so low right now, players no longer see themselves as being a good team.
Ask any fans out there and they’ll tell you the Flyers are a bad team with good players who simply can’t score and, thus, can’t win games.
This is a week when the Flyers should pile up some points with Carolina, New Jersey (Thursday) and Edmonton (Saturday) awaiting them.
They left a point on the ice in Carolina, but if the Flyers can get the next four, it might get them back into the playoff picture within the standings.
“We need to get points and we can’t fall back too far in the standings, even if we’re not too far from a playoff spot,” Giroux said.
“It’s hard to say, but we need to stay positive. We’re a good team. When we start believing it and we start playing like it, we’re gonna be a dangerous team.”
So players on the current roster don’t believe?
“Maybe they believe it, but we need to believe it 100 percent,” Giroux said. “When we start talking about it and doing it better -- I really believe that when we start believing we’re a good team, we’ll start winning games.
“We’re not convinced that we are right now, but we are. We’re gonna start winning games soon.”
Vinny Lecavalier was Giroux’s linemate until Wednesday when his line was changed. Does he believe?
“I don’t think he means we don’t believe,” Lecavalier said. “Everything comes with confidence. Once your confidence is there, I think we do believe we’re a good team. We just need that confidence and the results to do it.
“Sometimes, you can play really well, work hard, but if you don’t get results, it’s frustrating. Confidence is everything. If you know you can win, know you can make that next play or make that defensive play or whatever play, if you’re confident about it, usually, good things happen. That comes with results.”
Wayne Simmonds, who was bumped down a line and is now with Michael Raffl and Sean Couturier, agreed.
“Confidence is a huge thing,” Simmonds said. “When you believe in yourself, I think you are able to make simpler plans and actually be more effective. I think that’s the key. We have to believe in ourselves more.
“Because we’re playing good hockey for the better part of games and then when it comes down to crunch time, we make one or two mistakes and that’s the game. And that is hurting us right now.”
Believing in themselves will only come when the Flyers start scoring more than one goal a game and can put some W's up on the board.
Scott Hartnell’s scoring skid, dating back to last season, ended at 19 games at Carolina. Giroux’s skid is already 20. He doesn’t seem to get very good scoring chances now, nor is he creating good chances with his line.
He had one shot in New Jersey and two in Carolina.
That’s not going to promote confidence.
Giroux’s psyche seems fragile based on his tepid comments in postgame situations. At 25, he is still a young captain facing adversity for the second consecutive season, but this time it’s all around his own game.
“He’s always hard [on himself],” Jakub Voracek said. “He always wants to be the best, tries to be the best. He is one of the best. Obviously, if the puck doesn’t go in it’s frustrating. But you want to keep your composure.
“That’s why he’s such a good leader, because he’s so tough on himself. He wants the best out of himself and out of everyone else. I’m sure once he gets that next little [goal], everything will get better.”
Veteran defenseman Hal Gill, who’s been in the NHL 16 seasons, tried to use some levity to explain things.
“Fortunately, I’ve never been in that position -- I’ve been slumping for a while,” Gill said with a smile. “And what helps me … is just hard work. I think he works really hard and that’s all you can ask. For me, I don’t think of a leader as a guy who scores goals, but as someone who does the little things, plays the right way.”
Flyers coach Craig Berube has a fairly simple answer to the question of how this team can start believing in itself again.
“It … gets changed when you win games,” Berube said.