Slow start dooms Flyers in loss to Hurricanes

Slow start dooms Flyers in loss to Hurricanes
January 22, 2014, 10:00 pm
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The Flyers couldn't recover from an early 2-0 deficit in Wednesday's 3-2 loss to Carolina. (USA Today Images)

BOX SCORE

They were deadly dull for 39 minutes before Claude Giroux finally found the back of the net to bring the Flyers to life.
 
They soon tied it early in the third period, 2-2.
 
And then, the Flyers more or less disappeared as Carolina swallowed their momentum and skated out of the Wells Fargo Center with a 3-2 victory on Wednesday night (see Instant Replay).
 
“We tied the game up there in the third period pretty early and then we had nothing," coach Craig Berube said. "Seemed like we had no jump or energy after that, which is surprising.”
 
It invoked flashbacks to early October when the Flyers languished through games.
 
“There was no energy the whole game,” Giroux said. “We couldn’t get a forecheck. We didn’t make plays, we didn’t have any confidence.
 
“I think that is how we were playing at the start of the year. We need to play with confidence, believe in ourselves and make the plays that were there.
 
“We're just playing flat. We aren't playing the way we should be playing. It's kind of embarrassing to be playing like this at home.”
 
The thing is, there were precious few plays to turn into a game-changer. The Flyers came up ice shift after shift in second gear while Carolina was in fifth the entire game.
 
They tried fancy, low-percentage lazy plays that backfired instead of using their size to get on a forecheck, grind a little and create energy and shots.
 
Berube’s concern about not skating for two days proved accurate. The Flyers never got their legs in motion for any sustained period of time.
 
“We played like we did in Dallas when we had those two days off,” Scott Hartnell said. “Didn’t skate for two days there.”
 
An off day plus an ice storm kept the Flyers off the ice for two days in Dallas. Just like what happened here this week with the snow.
 
“You could tell we weren’t very competitive,” Hartnell said. “Second to pucks all night, except for a couple shifts.
 
“We tried to sneak out another win when you’re not playing great hockey and it’s going to come bite us in the ass pretty quick.”
 
There’s not much time to recover, either, as the Flyers play back-to-back with travel to Columbus, where they face the Blue Jackets on Thursday night.
 
Perhaps the Flyers have gotten so used to coming from behind -- they tied their franchise record with nine third-period comebacks recently -- that it’s given them a false sense of security that they can turn the juice on or off at will.
 
“It’s starting to bite us right now,” Wayne Simmonds said. “That’s not the way to play hockey. Not the way we should be playing hockey and it’s hurting us right now.
 
“I don’t think we’re getting lulled into it. We’re just not playing our best hockey for the first 10 to 15 minutes, and then we turn it up after that.
 
“It’s biting us in the butt. You’re not going to be able to do that for the rest of the year. Every team in this league is a good hockey team. If you get down a couple goals, they’re most likely going to shut you down, and that’s what’s happened.”
 
For the second time this week, the Flyers failed to take advantage in the standings and overtake the second-place Rangers in the Metropolitan Division.
 
Goalie Steve Mason failed to notch his 20th win even though he kept the Flyers in the game with 30 saves.
 
“We probably got what we deserved tonight,” Mason said. “We’re not playing well enough to win hockey games. Again, the third period, we need to be better.”
 
He also mentioned the Flyers are relying too much on their comeback mentality.
 
“That’s a mentality we’ve got to get away from, and Chief [Berube] has touched on that too,” Mason said. “We can’t keep relying on these comebacks to get us out of jams. We have to play a better, full 60 minutes.”

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