The Flyers said they couldn’t wait to get back at the Panthers in their home opener on Monday following an embarrassing 7-1 loss in Florida on Saturday night.
They said they didn’t play with enough emotion, got out-battled and failed to match the Panthers’ competitiveness over the weekend. The lackluster result led to players’ only meeting afterwards – not a good sign two games into the season.
However, they said Monday’s rematch in their own building would be different. And they backed up their words behind an energy-packed, tension-filled 1-0 win spearheaded by backup goalie Michal Neuvirth.
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They killed six power plays, including a four-minute power play in the second minute of the game, were physical, won battles along the boards and played with an edge that sorely was missing in the first meeting.
All good signs, no doubt. Still, stop us if you’ve heard this before: The Flyers fail to put a consistent effort together from one game to the next.
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It was one of their biggest issues from last season and one of the main reasons they sat out the playoffs for the second time in three years.
“We need to play consistent hockey all year long,” said Brayden Schenn, who scored the game’s lone goal Monday. “You don’t make the playoffs in this league without being consistent. Teams are too good. Everyone beats everyone so you have to bring your ‘A’ game every night and make sure you are competing every night to be successful.”
Although the sample size is small, the Flyers’ start to the season resembles the same problem they had a year ago.
They opened the 2015-16 campaign on Thursday with a hard-fought 3-2 overtime loss to the Lightning, who lost to the Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup final last spring. The Flyers followed that effort up by falling into a 4-0 hole in the first 6:46 of the game, the second-fastest four goals ever allowed by the organization, two days later in Florida. Then, they got some revenge at home against those same Panthers.
Good effort. Bad effort. Good effort.
“The key to playing consistent is if you have a really good game or a really bad game, it doesn’t really matter,” Captain Claude Giroux said. “You just have to put it behind you and you get ready for the next game.”
And that means forgetting about the Panthers and turning their focus to Wednesday’s game against Chicago.
“We played a solid game tonight but we have Chicago up next,” Giroux said. “So we have to forget this game and be ready for the Blackhawks, who have been playing pretty good.”