VOORHEES, N.J. – They call it “home-ice advantage’’ but it only works if a team plays like it’s on the road.
To sum it up in three words: Keep it simple.
The Flyers provided a perfect example of this when they went 3-0-1 on their just completed road trip through Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose and Arizona.
With fewer distractions, the Flyers looked like a different team than the one which had suffered recent 8-2 and 6-1 defeats at the Wells Fargo Center.
So now the Flyers begin a five-game homestand Thursday night, starting with a rematch against the Coyotes, a team they just beat 5-2 on Monday night, ending Arizona’s five-game winning streak.
The Flyers know they must get their act together on home ice. So far they are just 2-3 at the WFC.
“Distractions at home shouldn’t have anything to do with your play, I believe,’’ Wayne Simmonds said after Wednesday’s practice at the Skate Zone.
“(On the road) I thought we simplified our game. We got pucks deep. When the play was there, we made the play. When the play wasn’t there, we sent the puck deep, went in and got it.’’
Sean Couturier said the success on the road showed the Flyers what they have to continue to do to be successful.
“We have to keep playing the way we’ve been playing,’’ Couturier said. “Bring that same type of game home.’’
After giving up the first goal of the game six straight times to open the season and 10 of the first 11, the Flyers scored first in each of the four games on the road trip.
The stats don’t lie. Last year, the Flyers were 19-20-8 when allowing an opponent to score first; 23-6-6 when they scored first.
“You want to get off to a good start,’’ Couturier said. “You want to get the fans behind you. It’s going off to a good start and going from there.’’
Coach Dave Hakstol liked what he saw, particularly in the first two games when the Flyers jumped on top of the Ducks and Kings and didn’t let up.
“We control the way we start the game,’’ Hakstol said, “and the mentality that we take into a game.
“We dug ourselves a little hole before we went on the road. And our team did a real good job of sticking with it, sticking together and digging our way out of that hole.’’
The homestand also includes games against Chicago, Florida, New Jersey and Tampa.
“We have an opportunity here, five in a row at home,’’ Hakstol said. “We just need to continue to do the little things we’ve been doing that have given us a chance to start games well.’’
Starting goaltender Brian Elliott sat out the last two games of the road trip after taking an accidental knee to the head courtesy of Travis Konecny during a practice drill.
Elliott was back on the ice Wednesday, said he’s feeling better and should be ready for game action, although it’s likely Cal Pickard will get his third straight start when the Coyotes visit.
Actually, Elliott took a hard shot off his mask during Wednesday’s practice and lived to tell about it.
“I definitely got a test out there today,’’ he said. “So I passed the test.’’
Elliott agreed it’s a good idea to take a patient approach to a return to action.
“It (next start) is something we’re discussing,’’ he said. “It’s been three days without skating. Trying to be smart about it and not push things too far.’’
Elliott said it was a two-on-one drill. He tried to slide across and then there was contact.
“It was a knee or a leg right to the melon,’’ said a smiling Elliott. “I was feeling not the greatest right after but it got progressively better over the next couple days. It’s a good sign.’’
Did Konecny pick up a dinner check for Elliott’s trouble?
“It would be a first if he did,’’ Elliott cracked.