Scoreless Streak Reaches 5 Periods as Flyers Continue to Struggle
The 11-14-1 Flyers are off to their second worst start in a span of 26 games in two decades. Just when it looked like the team was turning the corner, reaching the .500 threshold by knocking off Washington and Ottawa last week, it now appears that bottom is falling out.
It started with spark plug Harry Zolnierczyk’s four game suspension for leaving his feet to blast Ottawa’s Mike Lundin. It continued with a trip to Madison Square Garden, where the Flyers haven’t been able to walk out winners in six straight games. To make it worse, Tuesday’s loss to the Rangers marked the 10th time out of the last 11 games the Flyers have lost to the blue shirts. Next came the debacle at home against Pittsburgh. After jumping out to a 4-1 lead with the help of offensive team leader Jakub Voracek (29 points, 12 goals, 17 assists), the Flyers exited the ice after the first period leaving their fans confident their team had Pittsburgh’s number. Little did they know, Voracek’s 12th goal of the season coming at the 19:52 mark of the first period would be the last goal score for five straight periods and counting.
Saturday’s shutout loss at Boston merely lamented the team’s all around struggle. While it appeared the Flyers were starting to get healthy with Matt Read making an early recovery from a rib injury to face Pittsburgh and key defenseman Andrej Meszaros returning against Boston, the all around play was still absent. Despite the fact that Boston failed to register a shot on goal in the game’s first 11 minutes, they allowed two goals in just a stretch over two minutes.
“After 1-0, we stopped competing,” said Flyers coach Peter Laviolette. Daniel Paille’s breakaway goal gave Boston their third and final goal, which easily turned out to be enough to cement Philadelphia’s now three game losing streak. ”They scored a goal and we never recovered. We never responded to it,” said Laviolette, who held a closed door meeting after the game. “We were looking for a response from last game and that wasn’t the response we were looking for.”
While it has become widely known that the Flyers are struggling on the defensive side of the ice, this scoreless streak is now revealing what the hot play of Voracek and Wayne Simmonds has been masquerading: lack of offensive production. Danny Briere’s refusal to waive his no trade clause could hurt the team even more if he does not bounce back from posting a minus eight for the season and failing to score in the last nine games. Sean Couturier, who shows flashes of brilliance at times, is statistically in the cellar as well scoring twice in 24 games and matching Briere’s minus eight. Even team Assistant Captain Scott Hartnell has scored once in ten games.