WASHINGTON – It’s not exactly the sort of history the Flyers were hoping to make but circumstances dictated otherwise.
Mike McKenna drew the start in goal for the Flyers in Tuesday night’s game against Washington, making him the seventh goaltender to suit up for Philadelphia this season.
That’s the most the franchise has ever dressed and it comes in just the 43rd game of the season.
Plus, it’s the ninth NHL team McKenna has been affiliated with in a journeyman career.
Coach Scott Gordon indicated he wanted to give McKenna (who was claimed off waivers last Friday) some work, plus rookie Carter Hart had played Monday night in a 3-0 loss to St. Louis at the Wells Fargo Center.
“Three games in four days and the way the schedule sets up from here to the (All-Star) break,’’ said Gordon, mindful that Hart had also played in Thursday night’s loss to Carolina. “It’s every other day. When you look for an opportunity, this is probably it.’’
Gordon was asked for a scouting report on McKenna, who had played in 10 games this season with a 1-4-1 record and 3.96 goals-against average.
“He competes and he battles,’’ Gordon said. “I think when you play for as long as he has, that’s something that people appreciate. . .that you bring you practice every day.
“Obviously it’s a great opportunity for him. We just have to go out and play well in front of him.’’
Gordon held a lengthy pre-game meeting to go over some things, trying to straighten out what went wrong in the St. Louis game.
“We talked about expectations and where we failed in the game last night,’’ he said. “For me, it wasn’t a game about Xs and Os. You watch the game, they made their share of turnovers; we just didn’t do enough with our play away from the puck.
“All those areas that don’t show up on the stat sheet. When you play well, you seem to that more consistently.’’
Gudas having best year
While the Flyers have been spiraling downward, defenseman Radko Gudas remains a model of consistency.
Entering the game, Gudas led the team in plus-minus (plus-6). He’s also been a good mentor for youngsters like Robert Hagg, Travis Sanheim and even Samuel Morin, who’s on the mend from ACL surgery.
Gudas said he’s made a more concerted effort to stay out of trouble (he was suspended in each of the past two seasons) and had only 10 penalty minutes in the first 20 games of this campaign.
“The last two years I’ve been suspended,’’ he said before the Capitals game at Capital One Arena. “I didn’t enjoy that time and the team needed me. I didn’t want to be in those shoes again.
“I didn’t change anything training-wise last summer but I tried to get my head more in the game than I did last year. We’re not doing well as a team right now but I’m trying to be the best that I can for the team.’’
Gudas has been paired with Shayne Gostisbehere of late but also worked with the other aforementioned youngsters.
He leads by example. His positioning this season has been excellent. That’s part of the plus-6.
“For me, I don’t want to be the guy that gets scored on,’’ he said. “For me, getting scored on is one of the worst things, one of the worst feelings you can get.
“I’m trying to work my butt off defensively. I don’t want to say those (young) guys are looking up to me, but I have to be that veteran presence. Calm the other guys down. If I can lead by example, I’ll be more than happy to help them out.’’
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