Once the Flyers get down, they're out

Once the Flyers get down, they're out

March 27, 2013, 3:45 pm
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Remember when the Flyers would walk confidently down the tunnel before the third period and someone would yell, “This is our period, boys!” and then they would go onto the ice and get a victory?
 
Those were the days when the Flyers had some confidence they could win games when trailing after two periods - days when heads didn’t slump because they gave up a first goal or were losing after the first period.
 
Well, during this shortened season, it’s become a huge issue to the Flyers, who are 0-12 now when trailing after one period and 1-11 when trailing after two.
 
No one is around to yell that battle cry, this season. No one is there to remind them of what it’s like to pull games out because, it’s been that long since the Flyers have been able to do it.
 
They’ve forgotten how to come back on teams.
 
“The stat was 0-11 going into that [Rangers] game, trailing after the first period,” Scott Hartnell said. “You are not going to have success, don’t care who you are, when you have stats like that. You gotta play hard. You can’t get down during the game. They score the first goal and it seems like the game is over, five minutes into the game. Even last year, we got down 1- or 2-0 in three-quarters of the games, and won a lot of those games. It’s just been frustrating to have a stat like that.”
 
Last season, the Flyers won 10 games when trailing after one period (10-15-3). The season before (2010-11), they were 8-11-4, according to Elias.
 
Also last season, the Flyers were 5-21-2 when trailing after two periods. The season before, they were 1-16-5. Not much better than right now, but sometimes, perception becomes reality.
 
And given the Flyers have had no success in comebacks this year, they fondly remember past years as likely being that much better because at least they had some success which spurred confidence they could get the job done.
 
“Every year, it’s up to each team to make their own breaks,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “Certainly, you have a valid point. Our third periods have not been periods where we exercised a comeback or even put games away. It’s been something that bit us this year.”
 
Tuesday’s crushing 5-2 loss to the New York Rangers all but assured the Flyers they won’t be headed to the playoffs from a reality-check standpoint. And the urgency to turn things around just isn’t there.
 
“You say 'urgency,' that’s one thing that has been lacking,” Hartnell said. “Right from the first shift of the game to the last shift of the game. There’s no more urgency than talking about a big game. Last night was, by far, probably the biggest of our careers and we let that go by the wayside. So, it’s frustrating, it’s demoralizing, it’s everything. Things have to change.”
 
It’s down to the "Bitter 16" with the Flyers seven points behind the eighth-seeded Rangers in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
 
There are four games remaining on this five-game homestand. It goes without saying the Flyers need to win all four starting Thursday against the Islanders.
 
More injuries
The Flyers' defense took yet another hit in the Rangers’ loss. Late in the third period, Andrej Meszaros left the ice, doubled over with what appeared to be a shoulder injury.
 
Meszaros, who has had one injury after another since last season, was not on the ice for Wednesday’s practice and the club did not have an immediate update. That left the Flyers with just five defensemen to hold practice.
 
Also missing once again was Nicklas Grossmann, who has not played in the last two games because of an upper body injury sustained last Friday in practice.
 
Danny Briere remains out with a concussion.
 
Loose pucks
This is only the second time in team history the Flyers have been this low in the standings (seeded 14th), this late in the season. … The last time the Flyers failed to make the playoffs was 2006-07 when they finished dead last – 30th overall - in the NHL with 56 points under Ken Hitchock, who was fired in late October that season, and John Stevens, his successor.

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