Streaky Flyers searching for ways to end current skid

Travis Sanheim

The Flyers are getting so streaky, it’s downright freaky.

Their season has gone like this: A 10-game (0-5-5) winless streak spanning November-December; a 12-game (10-0-2) point streak in February and now a five-game (0-4-1) winless streak.

All this on top of last season, when they won 10 straight games but became the first team in the 100-year history of the NHL to do so and not make the playoffs.

The Flyers had a decent chance to get back in the W column on Thursday night at Boston.

But they gave up a goal with just 22 seconds left in regulation time and fell, 3-2.

Now they get the high-flying Winnipeg Jets on Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center and while they are still comfortably in playoff position, teams like Florida are closing fast on a cluster of teams including the Flyers, Columbus and New Jersey.

Why are the Flyers so consistently inconsistent?

At Friday’s optional practice at the Skate Zone in Voorhees, N.J., coach Dave Hakstol was asked if his team can draw anything from the earlier 10-game skid to pull out of the current one.

“You draw from everything, from your entire season,’’ he said. “But I think this is a little different. Guys are just focused on what the next challenge is, what’s ahead.

“You get to this time of year, it’s a really important thing. We came out of yesterday with no points, our battle level on a back-to-back was very good. We have our focus now on Winnipeg tomorrow.’’

The Flyers called up defenseman Travis Sanheim from the Phantoms “under emergency conditions’’ late Friday afternoon. The Flyers already have a spare defenseman (Johnny Oduya), so it’s unclear why Sanheim is coming up under that stipulation.

Philadelphia will have to turn it up a notch to overcome Winnipeg.

“Sometimes to get that first win coming out of a tough stretch, you really have to be good,’’ Hakstol said. “That’s our focus tomorrow – looking at all the little things that we can do better.’’

One player who would like to get untracked offensively is Sean Couturier.

He’s put together a spectacular season with 29 goals, and is now considered a favorite for the Selke Trophy (NHL best defensive forward), but hasn’t scored in 10 games.

Couturier has been logging a ton of ice time, posting 24 minutes in some recent games and even one game with 28 minutes. For the season, he’s third in the NHL in TOI.

“That’s a little bit too much,’’ Hakstol conceded. “He played 28 (vs. Tampa), we played on a back to back the very next day (at Florida) and he played outstanding. . .he was one of the players who had the most energy.

“Sometimes those numbers are dictated by special teams; sometimes you have to look within the numbers. He’s handled it well until now, there’s been no dropoff in his performance. In fact, I think he thrives on those extra minutes.’’

The Flyers finally got a power-play goal to end a one-for-19 streak. They might need more of that with the Jets in town on Saturday and Vegas on Monday.

“I thought yesterday both specialty teams did their job,’’ Hakstol said. “In terms of the power play, we’ve had some teams come at us with high pressure, on the half-wall, two of the last three games.

“It’s an adjustment to make sure we have the right outlets. Not just one or two outlets but three to alleviate that pressure.’’

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About Wayne Fish 2437 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.

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