Is lengthy skid at MSG getting in Flyers' heads?

Is lengthy skid at MSG getting in Flyers' heads?
March 27, 2014, 9:30 am
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Wayne Simmonds (left) hasn't yet experienced a win as a Flyer against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. (USA Today Images)

NEW YORK -- The Flyers haven’t won at Madison Square Garden since Feb. 20, 2011.

For those keeping track at home, that’s eight consecutive losses in the building. They’ve been outscored here 31-9 in that span.

The Flyers have registered wins over the Rangers in the past four seasons, sure. They just haven’t been able to do so in New York. Are they overthinking their history here? Are they too “in their heads” about the challenges of playing in a notoriously tough building?

“I don’t know,” coach Craig Berube said. “You’d have to ask them that.”

The Flyers, though, aren't sure either. “It’s a tough team to play against,” Steve Mason said. “They have some big bodies, it’s just a tough building to play in. But at this time of the year we have to have a better effort.”

Flyers captain Claude Giroux doesn’t think the Flyers' struggles in New York have anything to do with why the team lost 3-1 Wednesday night (see game story).

That, Giroux said, happened because the Flyers got away from what was making them successful.

“Maybe not tonight,” Giroux said. “Because I don’t think we played our game. I think we were tired, and I don’t know. It was a weird game.”

More likely than some sort of jinx, Giroux said, is that the Flyers’ schedule may have finally caught up with them. For over a week, the Flyers played some of their best hockey of the season against some of the most difficult opponents of the season. They easily handled the Pittsburgh Penguins, St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks.

But they just couldn’t do it against the Rangers. Giroux suggested the Flyers might be “tired.”

“To be honest, we played a lot of good teams lately,” Giroux said. “And we had a lot of big wins, we worked hard, but there’s a lot of games in not a lot of nights here.

"Coming up here we’ve got to make sure we get some rest, and the next two games at home are going to be huge.”