The Philadelphia Flyers recently completed three-game road trip may have been just what the doctored ordered for their sluggish start – again – to the season.
They completed the five-day venture a respectable 2-1 and avoided falling into an even deeper hole.
“You’re always not happy about certain things, but when you look at the big picture, we got two wins on the road," coach Craig Berube told reporters in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. "We’ll take it.”
When they left the Wells Fargo Center last Tuesday following a shootout loss to the Ducks, the Flyers were still looking for their first win of the year.
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It finally arrived in Dallas on Saturday during a wild see-saw affair that included the Flyers scoring three times in the third period to force overtime and Claude Giroux netting the game-winner on the team’s second power play of the extra session.
“It’s a win,” defenseman Andrew MacDonald said. “It certainly wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t the way we drew it up or anything but we stayed on course.”
However, the Flyers took a major detour three days later in Chicago. The Blackhawks blitzed the Flyers from the opening faceoff, jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period and ended up embarrassing them to the tune of 4-0.
“We had a horrible start,” defenseman Mark Streit said. “(Steve) Mason was pretty much the only guy out there playing his game. It’s just not acceptable, a start like that. You do that against a team like that and you are going to get punished.”
Fortunately, the Flyers were playing their next game at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, where they were 9-1-1 since the building opened. Holding true to form, the Flyers beat the Penguins 5-3 and rebounded from their dreadful performance in Chicago 24 hours earlier – and salvaged the trip.
"Coming in here tonight and beating a good team on their ice to finish off a road trip, to me that shows a lot of character," said R.J. Umberger, who scored the go-ahead goal in the third.
Flyers host Red Wings Saturday
Braydon Coburn’s return to the lineup would be a major boost to the Flyers, who host the Red Wings on Saturday and the defending champion Kings next Tuesday. The defenseman has been out since suffering a lower-body injury in the season opener against Boston. He practiced with the team on Tuesday and was expected to play that night in Chicago but was scratched and didn’t suit up on Wednesday in Pittsburgh, either.
The veteran, who averages the most ice time and often faces the opponents’ top line, would help sure up a leaky blue line that has surrendered three goals or more in their last six games.