Wayne Simmonds scored two goals in the Flyers' 4-1 win over the Wild. (USA Today Images)
They have transformed themselves on home ice.
They’ve gone from a team that lost seven of its first nine home games to a team that has won nine straight at the Wells Fargo Center, matching their win streak of October 2005, following a 4-1 win over Minnesota on Monday night (see Instant Replay).
It’s a big reason why the Flyers go into the Christmas break over .500 at 17-16-4 and with a hold of a playoff spot as the third team in the Metropolitan Division.
“We wanted to end this Christmas break off with a big win -- a lot of smiles on our faces,” Scott Hartnell said. “We have a lot of pride to wear the orange jersey in this building. We came out flying, came out hard.
“Two games ago, we had an epic win here [over Columbus]. We’re finding different ways here. We came out tonight and played a solid 20 minutes where we were hard on the puck and didn’t stop. We kept going.”
The Flyers' home record is now 11-7 -- a far cry from what it was a while ago.
“In the beginning, I think we played better on the road than at home,” Jakub Voracek said. “But it switched. Now we have to find that level to get some points on the road. It’s what we got to do. Make teams earn wins here.
“When I came here a long time ago with Columbus, this was a tough building to win in. That’s what we got to do. Make them a little bit scared before the game. Make sure they earn that win.”
Goalie Steve Mason notices the difference at home.
“There definitely is a sense of confidence playing at home," he said. "First, you are staying at your own house, sleeping in your own bed, so that is nice to get a little better rest.
"And you play in front of home fans and you don’t have to deal with the opposition’s fans. You have that sense of confidence, and we have been able to take advantage lately and that’s probably the reason we have been able to climb out of the hole we were in. We just have to make sure we are carrying it onto the road trip.”
Indeed, the Flyers haven’t been very good away from home, going 6-9-4 on the season with an ongoing five-game losing streak (0-3-2) on the road.
“We’ve obviously changed some things up,” Hartnell said. “I think it took a little while to learn how to play the right way and I know no one doesn’t want to let anyone down in here. Turning the puck over, making soft plays and you’re accountable to your teammates, the guy next to you in the dressing room. You play hard, you play smarter.
“We have to eliminate some simple penalties that we’ve been taking lately. It’s been a lot of fun here at home and we got to take this show on the road.”
Coach Craig Berube isn’t quite sure what changed on home ice, but clearly the Flyers' focus to generate some home momentum seems to have carried over along with the fact they’ve started to score goals here. That’s boosted the confidence factor all-around.
“I look back on some of the games and they were there to be won, and we just didn’t do it,” Berube said.
“I look back on that road trip coming back, coming out of Dallas and coming out of Chicago we were up 1-0 and things are fine, and all of a sudden come out for the second period and have a collapse.
“On the road, we tend to not push the issue enough at certain times and end up letting our guard down a bit and getting down a goal or two and that’s tough on the road.
“We got to do a better job of keep playing and doing the same things. Don’t get away from the system or what you are doing. Stay on it. Play a little smarter and stay out of the penalty box. We still have to do a better job at that, including tonight.”