What went wrong for Flyers vs. Blue Jackets?
The Bruins own the second-best record in the East, in part thanks to superb play from goalie Tuukka Rask. (USA Today Images)
Look at the NHL’s top 40 scoring leaders. You won’t find a single Boston Bruin among them. And yet, the Bruins remain the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.
They have the same number of goals (141) as the Flyers, with seven players who have 10 or more goals.
They’ve tightened up defensively, and their biggest asset is goalie Tuukka Rask, who's second in the NHL with a 2.11 goals-against average and save percentage (.929).
Saturday’s afternoon matinee begins a rather challenging stretch of games for Craig Berube’s Flyers.
After Boston, it’s Detroit. Then the Flyers head to the West Coast to play Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose.
“[We've] got to play like a team tomorrow,” Berube said. “We’re playing a very good team. It’s a great challenge for our team. I am looking forward to it.”
The Flyers have lost three straight and are 2-4-2 in their last eight games with a variety of problems, most of which begin in their own end (see story).
“Our game, in general, last few games, we are in between in a lot of different areas,” Berube said. “We are giving up too many shots because of it.
“If you don’t forecheck properly and play in the offensive zone, eventually they will be in your zone getting shots.”
He’s not happy with the breakouts, either, and it’s possible Erik Gustafsson will enter the lineup to help on that end.
Who comes out? Berube didn’t say, but Luke Schenn has had a serious string of bad games.
On the breakout
In a nutshell, what has become of the Flyers breakout lately?
"Speed," Berube replied, "not getting back quick enough, not supporting [the puck]. We’re a little bit spread out right now as a team.”
They've been an issue for a very long time, going back to Peter Laviolette’s days here as head coach.
The problem has also produced one of Berube’s best lines:
“Like I said, we get lots of power plays and we give ‘em. It’s been a theme for four straight years, I think, where we lead the league in both. You guys gotta have an answer," Berube said, addressing the media. "Let me know. I’d like to know what it is.”
• Friday’s practice was optional. Those who did not skate were Jakub Voracek (left hand), Kimmo Timonen, and Wayne Simmonds.
• Zac Rinaldo, recovering from a high ankle sprain, skated and said he felt good. Injured Jan. 8 against Montreal, he was expected to miss up to six weeks.