PHILADELPHIA – In training camp, the Flyers made it a point to say they would try really hard to improve their special teams.
Well, at the moment, the progress has been rather slow.
The power play? One for its last 14.
The penalty kill? Giving up goals at critical times, like in Monday night’s game against Colorado, when the Avalanche scored barely three minutes into the game.
The problems, it seems, are nothing new.
On the power play, not enough traffic in front of the netminder for starters.
On the kill, trying to figure out when to be aggressive and maybe when not to be.
“We have to do a better job on the PK and the power play,’’ Wayne Simmonds said after a 4-1 loss at the Wells Fargo Center. “On the power play, put the puck in the net. We just have to be better all around. We have to get those second and third opportunities.’’
Nolan Patrick, who scored the only Flyers goal, also acknowledged that the special teams need to pick up the energy level.
“The power play is one for 14 but when we get good looks, it gives us momentum,’’ he said. “It’s not just about getting a goal. It helps when we do but there are bigger things than just the numbers on this one.’’
Goalie Brian Elliott is now part of a netminder group which ranks last in the NHL in goals-against average. Having a mediocre penalty kill in front of him isn’t helping matters any.
Said Robert Hagg: “We’re working as hard as we can. If one guy breaks down, it’s going to be in the back of the net. Everybody has to work together. Stick with the plan and just execute.’’
Mikael Raffl appeared to suffer an injury to his left foot in the second period. He had to be helped off and did not return.
A lengthy injury would be a costly one for the Flyers, who are still without James van Riemsdyk.
“He’s a big player for us,’’ Elliott said. “I didn’t see it. You don’t wish for any injuries out there on either side.’’