Flyers skate update: Capitalize on power play

Flyers skate update: Capitalize on power play

February 5, 2013, 12:15 pm
Share This Post

VOORHEES, N.J. – The Flyers are hoping their power play fortune from Saturday, when they went a perfect 3 for 3 against the Carolina Hurricanes, wasn’t just a matter of luck.

Instead, they’re choosing to believe their gradually improving man advantage is the result of practice – which they’ve done a lot of – and that there will be plenty more offense to come. As such, they were back at work on special teams Tuesday morning.

“We have to take advantage of morning skates now with some days being called off of practice in a shortened season,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “There was a stretch there where we weren’t practicing much at all. We were on the road, we were traveling, we were playing too many games and rest trumped everything – you make sure you get the rest that you need. I think things get put on the backburner.

“It’s not something that we want to happen, you look at an opportunity to go out there this morning and work on it, I think it’s good to try and stay on top of it.”

The Flyers’ power play has climbed to 16th in the NHL, at 18.6 percent. Less than a week ago, it was 23rd. That’s a good sign, for sure, but it doesn’t mean their work is done.

“We have to keep working at it,” Danny Briere said. “Keep practicing. I like that we were back today, did more work this morning. It just started paying off, and I’m hoping now that we’ve had a few games and a few practices where the same players have been on the units practicing together will help and will keep everything going.”

Bryz is back
As expected, Ilya Bryzgalov will get the start in goal tonight.

Bryz wasn’t in net when the Flyers last faced the Tampa Bay Lightning, Jan. 27 in Florida, an ugly 5-1 loss that ranks among their worst performances of the season.

The outcome of that game likely wouldn’t have changed had he been the starter then, but Bryzgalov has been impressive. He carries with him a 2.40 goals-against average and .920 save percentage – but has more losses than any goalie in the league.

“He’s been our most consistent player, I’d say,” Laviolette said. “Night in and night out, he gives us an opportunity to win. I think there’s some nights where we’ve played well in front of him and some of those we’ve gotten wins and some of those we’ve gotten losses. There’s been nights where we need to play better in front of him. But he’s remained constant with his performance, and that’s been nice for us.”

Or, as Briere summed it up: “If we would have given him more support, we’d have a much better record.”

Don’t think about it
The Flyers are 2-7-1 against the Lightning in the teams’ last 10 meetings. It’s just one of those odd matchups, a few of the players have said, that seems impossible to figure out.

And so, they’re not even going to try.

“You try not to think about that,” Briere said. “We have a game plan, we try to focus on that. They’re a good team and they’re tough to contain, with all the offensive weapons that they have. One of the big keys for us is staying out of the penalty box. They have a very dangerous power play. So if we can stay out of the box, that will limit their chances.”

Privacy please
The Flyers had their morning skate Tuesday at their practice facility, Skate Zone, instead of at the Wells Fargo Center. It’s something they’ve done off and on in the past, and the reason, Laviolette said, is simple.

“There’s a little bit more privacy here.”