Lunch Break: Flyers return home
Under Craig Berube, the Flyers are currently 7-7-2. (USA Today Images)
Will they or won’t they?
That’s the question the Flyers face on Tuesday night. Will they vault over the .500 mark for the first time this season under coach Craig Berube?
The Flyers come into tonight’s game against Ottawa with a 7-7-2 record under Berube (see game notes). They officially hit the quarter mark on Thursday night against Buffalo. And they close out their brief, three-game homestand on Saturday against the Islanders.
“We need to get going at home,” Berube said after Tuesday's morning skate.
This is a huge week for the Flyers to gain some ground in the standings. They may no longer have a win streak going, but they do have a four-game point streak after winning two of three games on the road and losing one in a shootout.
“Three home games, it’s kinda a must-win situation,” Matt Read said. “You can’t have teams come into your home and outplay and outwork you.
“So we’re not -- it doesn’t matter about the last game against Ottawa. We have the same mentality -- work hard, create opportunities offensively and playing good defense.’’
Wayne Simmonds, who has at least a point in each of his last three games, added, “It’s an important week. We had success the last three games on the road and we want to carry over the momentum back home.
“It starts with playing simple. We’ve got to keep things simple and not try to overanalyze things -- keep getting pucks deep, keep chipping pucks out of our zone. I think that’s what’s led to our success this far.”
The Flyers would like to nail this one down for Berube. When he took over for Peter Laviolette, Berube won his first game, 2-1, on Oct. 8 against Florida.
His club then lost four straight but has since battled back and improved all-around. The Flyers are 6-3-2 in their last 11 games.
“We’re still not where we want to be,” Vinny Lecavalier said. “I don’t think we necessarily look at it that way (over .500 under Berube). We know we’re three games away from being .500 (overall on the season). We have to keep going. It was a really tough start. Our mark is to get to .500 and go from there.”
The good news is, the Flyers’ playoff hopes remain alive. They remain four points out of a spot.
“That was one of the good things,” Lecavalier said. “Even when we were 1-7 we looked at the standings and we’re like well, we had to look at standings. It was one of those weeks where, 'Hey guys, nobody is going well in our division.’
“That was a positive and we go from that. That’s behind us, that first month and now we got to keep it going.
“There is nothing we can do about other teams. We can worry about what we do and who we play that night. If we have weeks like last week, get a lot of those, we’ll be in good shape.”
Lecavalier doesn’t like wearing a shield to protect the left side of his face, but he's getting used to it.
“On the ice, I’m kinda used to it,” he said. “Between shifts, it fogs up. You’re about to go on the ice and there’s fog that comes up right before you go on.
“It’s more annoying than anything. I haven’t talked to (trainer) Jimmy (McCrossin). Maybe a week or so [longer] but I’m not 100 percent sure.”
Black Friday sale
Next weekend’s annual Black Friday matinee features the Winnipeg Jets and some special discounts at Fan Zone in the Wells Fargo Center.
The doors to Fan Zone open at 6 a.m. with a humongous big 30 percent discount in the first hour. The discount drops to 20 percent between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. and 10 percent from 8-10 a.m.
There are also special giveaways depending upon whether you spend $150, $250 or $350 or more. Those giveaways include game tickets to Flyers, Sixers, Phantoms, etc. Game time for the Jets is a rare morning start, with puck drop set for 11:30 a.m.