Flyers can't be 'soft' this time vs. Lightning

Flyers can't be 'soft' this time vs. Lightning

February 5, 2013, 9:30 am
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Danny Briere and the Flyers lost to the Lightning, 5-1, in Tampa Bay on Jan. 27. (AP)

VOORHEES, N.J. – Whether it was tired legs, poor team defense or just a fluke, the Flyers simply do not want a replay of last week’s Tampa Bay Lightning game when those very same Lightning take the ice tonight at the Wells Fargo Center.

In that game, Jan. 27, the Flyers were 0 for 5 on the power play. They gave up two goals to Tampa’s man-advantage. They were sloppy, undisciplined and unacceptably slow on the backcheck during even-strength play.

They lost, 5-1, in one of their worst efforts of the season.

“Yes, they’re playing well, and they have a lot of guys that can score, but at the same time, we were way too soft on the battles,” Danny Briere said. “We weren’t moving our legs. Nothing really to help us win games. We have to change that mindset [tonight].”

The Flyers entered that game having played only 24 hours earlier downstate against the Florida Panthers, but that’s no excuse for what ensued on the ice. That’s especially true in a lockout-shortened season like this one; there are plenty more back-to-back games to come.

Either way, though, almost everything about the way they played a week ago in Tampa needs to change tonight in front of the home crowd.

“It’s a tough one to evaluate, because we really didn’t skate the way we’re capable of,” Briere said. “Obviously, we played the night before, and there’s going to be a lot of situations this year when we’re gonna be stuck that way, and we have to find a way to come out and play harder than we did in that game.”

The Flyers have perhaps turned a corner in the week that’s passed since they last faced Steven Stamkos and company, but their efforts still haven’t been perfect. With a 3-6 record and a recent big win over the Carolina Hurricanes, the pressure on them has lessened a bit. That said, there are still facets of their game that must improve in order to come away with a win over a tough competitor like the Lightning.

“I liked what we did the first two periods [against Carolina],” coach Peter Laviolette said. “In the third period, the score was in our favor, and we kind of sat back. ... The fact that we sat back a little bit with 5-on-5 in the third period, I wasn't as happy with that as I was the first two [periods].”

Tampa Bay, of course, poses a much more difficult challenge than the Hurricanes did. For whatever reason, the Flyers have struggled against the Lightning in recent years, going 2-7-1 in their last 10 meetings -- and 1-3-0 in their last four in Philadelphia.

It might be nothing more than a bad matchup for the Flyers.

“Sometimes it’s just the way it is,” Briere said. “But at the same time, we’re going in to tomorrow believing that we can beat them.”

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