Skate Update: Flyers look to start winning at home

Skate Update: Flyers look to start winning at home
November 19, 2013, 1:00 pm
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The Flyers return to the Wells Fargo Center Tuesday after a three-game road trip. (USA Today Images)

Currently, the Flyers have a 3-7 record at the Wells Fargo Center. They’ve been outscored here 29-15. They’ve heard far more boos from the home crowd than they have cheers.

And tonight, against the Ottawa Senators, they hope to put an end to all of that.

“It’s really important for teams to play good at home, and obviously that hasn’t been the case this year,” Claude Giroux said. “It’s going to be a pretty good crowd tonight, and we’ll need to get them going as soon as possible.

The Flyers returned home this weekend from a three-game road trip during which they played some of their best hockey of the season. They got points out of each game, posting a 2-1 record.

It’s for those reasons they’re confident they can keep it going at home.

“We’ve come off a hard road trip – three in four nights, traveling all over the place,” Hartnell said. “To get points in all those games and to play hard, that gives us confidence to come here and play the way that we’ve been playing on the road: Managing the puck, not getting too fancy.”

There's always the concern of added pressure on the Flyers, considering they know the importance of getting points at home -- and considering the fact that despite being in last place in the Metropolitan Division, they're only four points out of a playoff spot.

The Flyers, though, aren't worried about it. They're focused more on what they were able to do on the road recently.

“We played as a team, we played as a system,” Giroux said. “I think we got everybody on the same page. I knew that when we’d get everybody on the same page, that’s when we’d start winning games.”

Their coach, Craig Berube, isn't concerned about it, either.

“I think they’re beyond that now,” Berube said. “They’ve turned that tide here, and they’re ready to play tonight. Definitely.”

'The same as any other'
On Nov. 12, the Flyers embarrassed the Senators in Ottawa, shutting them out while scoring five goals on Sens goalie Craig Anderson.

But, Berube said, there’s no reason to be extra cautious about the Senators coming into Philadelphia with an axe to grind.

“Every team wants to come in and beat you,” Berube said. “You’ve got to approach the game the same as any other game. You got to go in there and you got to know you’re going to play a good team tonight, and they’re going to give you a real good effort.

“If you don’t do things properly and you don’t compete, you don’t have 100 percent from everybody, you’re going to be in trouble.”

Second-line success
In its past three games, the Flyers' second line of Brayden Schenn, Vinny Lecavalier and Wayne Simmonds has combined for five goals and four assists.

The line’s recent success doesn’t come as a surprise to Simmonds, who said he believes the three Flyers “think the game the same.”

“We get in there, we can forecheck,” Simmonds said. “The three of us aren’t afraid to fight, and I think we can put pucks in the net. I think that’s a good combination.”

Mason goes again
Steve Mason will be in net once again tonight against the Senators. The game will be his 15th of the season. Mason currently carries with him a .931 save percentage (good for 10th in the NHL) and a 2.12 goals-against average.

It was Mason, of course, who was in net for that aforementioned shutout win over the Senators in Ottawa.

Robin Lehner gets the nod for the Sens. Lehner has a .943 save percentage and 2.13 goals-against average in eight games, and wasn’t in net last week against the Flyers.

Stop the boos
If there’s one thing the Flyers hope they’ve seen the end of at home, its all the boos they’ve received from their fans.

In their 10 homes games this season, the Flyers have largely heard more of those than they have cheers or applause.

“It’s really hard when we hear the fans’ boos,” Giroux said. “Obviously when they do that, we’re aware of why they’re doing it and we know we got to be better at home. We had a really good stretch on the road here, and I think that was really important for us.”