Why is Flyers' power play only struggling at home?

Why is Flyers' power play only struggling at home?

January 17, 2014, 3:30 pm
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Wayne Simmonds scored a power-play goal with 1:24 remaining Thursday night to force overtime. Otherwise, the Flyers have been dreadful at home with the man advantage. (USA Today Images)

VOORHEES, N.J. -- On the road, the Flyers’ power play is soaring with 24.5 percent efficiency – good enough for fifth in the NHL.

But on home ice, it’s an entirely different story. Though they scored a goal on the man advantage in Thursday night’s shootout loss to the Nashville Predators, the Flyers currently own the league’s 27th-ranked power play at home. It’s operating at paltry 12.5 percent.

For whatever reason, things just haven’t clicked at Wells Fargo Center this season. And the Flyers have no more of an idea why that is than the home crowd (who has, by the way, spent a lot of time booing the power play lately.)

“I don’t know,” Mark Streit said. “Sometimes, your whole game on the road is a little bit more simple. At home, you maybe try a little too much and you want to be a little too perfect or too cute and look for the perfect play.”

Simplicity has definitely been an issue in Philadelphia. The Flyers seem to make one too many passes or wait too long to get a perfect angle before shooting on net on their power plays here.

But it’s the same players on the Flyers’ power play at the Wells Fargo Center as in any other arena in the league. They know how to get organized, how to generate pressure.

They just can’t get it together with any regularity.

“Whether the players feel more pressure at home – fans and all that stuff, or maybe trying to be too pretty at times at home instead of just shooting. I don’t really think it’s one thing," coach Craig Berube said. “It’s got to improve at home, it definitely does.

“I think [Thursday] night, the first few power plays, we didn’t do a very good job coming up the ice, and then when we entered the zone, we had to put it on the wall, or if we did put it on the wall, we didn’t win the battle to get it back. So for me, it was just work and effort for the first few, getting set up and getting organized.”

The timing of Thursday’s sole power-play goal is encouraging, however. With just 1:24 to play, Wayne Simmonds forced overtime and an eventual shootout by beating Preds goalie Carter Hutton. It was a play reminiscent of what the Flyers have been capable of on the road this season.

They're just stumped by why they can't do it more often.

“That’s a pretty good question,” Vinny Lecavalier said. “I don’t know what to say. We scored a big one on the PP [Thursday] night at the end of the game, we’ll take the positives on that. But every game’s different and every game we’re playing against different penalty killing, so it’s just [having] to adjust to different teams. I think we’ve been doing pretty well so far.”

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