Low-voltage power play hurting Flyers’ chances

NEWARK – Time was when the Flyers’ power play was consistently in the top 10 or so in the NHL.

One look at the league statistics sheet will show there’s been a steep decline in recent years.

The Flyers’ power play, which began Saturday’s play ranked 30th at 13.1 percent, has now connected just three times in its last 28 attempts.

In Saturday’s 3-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center, the Flyers had a golden chance to get back into the game late in the third period, when they went on the power play with 3:04 to play.

They pulled goalie Carter Hart, creating a six-on-four advantage but didn’t score. They did get a goal from Sean Couturier with two seconds to play but by then the power play had ended and it was virtually impossible to score with only two ticks left on the clock.

Just your average zero-for-three day with the man advantage.

“I’ve seen a lot of good possessions and shots,’’ coach Scott Gordon said. “At the end of the day, it’s not going in for us.

“And I’ve said this before, you would take what’s going on in the offensive zone for us, as opposed to what New Jersey did. But for whatever reason, we just can’t find the back of the net.

“That’s something we’re going to talk about tomorrow (at Sunday’s practice) and go from there.’’

Sean Couturier sounds puzzled by the lack of production.

“It used to be we would win some games with the power play,’’ he said. “Right now we’re not scoring at all. We can say we’re controlling the puck, that we’re getting chances but at the end of the day we have to find ways to put the puck in the net.’’

Individually, just about everyone is having off-years on the power play.

For instance, Wayne Simmonds is ranked second to only Washington superstar Alex Ovechkin in power-play goals over the past seven seasons. Right now, after 45 games, he has only four.

Incredibly, Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek have only one each. Shayne Gostisbehere used to dominate on the power play. Now he only has two this season.

“Obviously there’s something wrong,’’ Couturier said. “I can’t really point out what it is exactly. It’s been close to 50 games (to be exact, 45). You would think that things are going to turn around, you’re going to get on a streak.

“But after 45 games, I think we have to look at ourselves and find a solution here.’’


Van Riemsdyk warming up


James van Riemsdyk’s goal in this game was his third in the last six contests.

He said he had a recent talk with Gordon to go over his role and what’s expected of him.

Gordon has had JVR back on the top line the past two games and van Riemsdyk has goals in both of them.

“I had a productive talk with ‘Gordo’ (coach Gordon),’’ van Riemsdyk said. “Certain detail stuff. When you play for different teams, systems, there are different details that you’re looking for.

“When things get communicated to you in a tangible way that you can work on, it’s really healthy. To be honest, it was certain reads that maybe I wasn’t making the right way, that he wanted me to try. I’ve been buying into that.’’

JVR has three power-play goals, one behind Simmonds, in 16 fewer games.

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About Wayne Fish 2471 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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