After four games, Jakub Voracek, Wayne Simmonds and Claude Giroux are all still searching for their first goals of the year. (USA Today Images)
The Flyers will go into Friday’s game against Phoenix with 17 players still looking for their first goals of the season.
Their entire first line of last season – Scott Hartnell, Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek - plus their new first line with Wayne Simmonds subbing for Voracek all are seeking their first markers.
New coach Craig Berube says his entire club is squeezing their sticks too tight.
“Sometimes you press, press, press to score because you’re not scoring and losing games,” Berube said. “Again, I’ll revert back to it. Your play without the puck is the most important thing right now.
“When you do that, and we’ll do even a better job than we did last game, we’ll get more opportunities the other way.”
For two straight days Berube and his new staff have had the club doing a lot of uptempo, nonstop skating on the full sheet of ice at Skate Zone. Plus cardio drills after that.
It’s been apparent the Flyers lacked their skating legs through their first three losses, but picked it up in their lone victory Tuesday against Florida.
Despite the fact Hartnell is perhaps in the best shape ever in his career as a Flyer, he doesn’t even have an assist to show for chances on ice.
“I think any time you start badly, you’re asking, ‘What did we do wrong? Or what are we doing wrong? How do we create more offense?’" Hartnell said.
“It’s been a struggle for especially our line out there, and we have to get things figure out. Mase [Steve Mason] definitely won the game for us [Tuesday], but we have to score more than two goals a game to have any success this season.
“For me, it’s pretty simple. I score my goals right in front of the goalie, right in his face. Get tips and rebounds. Go to the net with the stick on the ice and good things happen. I’ve obviously gotten away from that a little bit. We talked about it yesterday with Simmer [Simmonds]. Just throw pucks at the net and me or him will be there.”
He said his line needs to take some pressure off Giroux.
“We just have to give G some space to make plays like he can,” Hartnell said. “At practice, we’re working hard, we’re doing all the right things and scoring. We just have to bear down when it comes to the game.”