PHILADELPHIA – They say long road trips bring teams closer together and given the current state of the Flyers, they better hope that’s true.
Philadelphia’s finest has lost three straight games (two at home) by a combined score of 13-2.
The Flyers’ penalty kill is down near the bottom of the NHL barrel.
The power play is one for its last 20.
And the team’s goal differential is now a minus-14.
Maybe a four-game road trip to the Great American West can help solve the problem.
With stops in Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose and Arizona, the Flyers will have plenty of time to build a little esprit de corps – in other words, mutual trust.
Right now, that seems to be lacking.
Players are trying to do too much on their own. Maybe discussions around a dinner table for nine days can help clear up the indecision, or, as coach Dave Hakstol puts it: Clutter.
“I think when you go on the road for a long time with your teammates, you get a little closer,’’ captain Claude Giroux said after Saturday’s humiliating 6-1 loss to the New York Islanders at the Wells Fargo Center.
“That’s what we need right now, to get closer as a team. Go out there and play for each other. This road trip is going to be very important for our season.’’
Fortunately for the Flyers, the western teams aren’t exactly tearing it up right now.
Entering Saturday action, Los Angeles is a dismal 2-7-1. Arizona is OK at 4-5-0. Anaheim is 5-5-1 and San Jose is 5-3-2.
Maybe the Flyers can find their groove on this trip.
Last season, after losing 10 in a row (0-5-5), the Flyers headed out to the hinterlands and swept three games at Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.
That was part of a six-game winning streak which got the Flyers headed back in the right direction.
Said Shayne Gostisbehere: “We’re definitely going to use these practice days to figure some things out. So it’s definitely good us.’’
No doubt Hakstol will be spending plenty of time reviewing video with his players, then taking the classroom stuff onto the ice.
“It’s about controlling the emotion and it’s been more of a challenge at home than on the road,’’ Hakstol said.
A few wins would go a long way to finding solutions.
The 4-7 Flyers have yet to win back-to-back games.
“It’s what we do the next day, not what we do on the road trip,’’ Hakstol insisted. “Clear all the clutter that’s in our heads right now.
“We’re headed out west, that’s a great opportunity. But the next opportunity is our next game.’’
Corban Knight suffered an early upper-body injury and did not return to action.