Flyers’ tough road trip will test their mettle

John Tortorella

      VOORHEES, N.J. – While the 2-0 start has put the Flyers in a positive frame of mind, now comes the true test.

      The Flyers take to the road for the first time this season, playing three games against teams which made the playoffs last season, including Eastern Conference finalist Tampa Bay on Tuesday night, Eastern Conference regular season champ Florida on Wednesday and the almost always formidable Nashville Predators on Saturday.

      In all honesty, if the Flyers manage to win just one of those three tough encounters, they would come home still above .500 for the season.

      “I don’t look at it that way, I look at it as just our next game,’’ coach John Tortorella said. “We’re going day by day here, trying to get better each game.

      “We’re just going to go about our business. We won’t win if we don’t check. We’ll have no chance against Tampa if we don’t check.’’

      Scott Laughton, the Flyers’ alternate captain (and the only Philadelphia player wearing a letter), knows this entire trip will be a tall order.

      “It will be a really good test,’’ he predicted. “Three really good teams to see where we’re at and see where our game is at.

      “If we play the same way as we did last game (a come-from-behind 3-2 win over Vancouver), we’re going to be in a lot of games. And we’re going to be playing with the lead more often than not and not chasing the game.’’

      One thing the Flyers have done exceptionally well is stick to the game plan.

      Even when they fell behind by a 2-0 score against the Canucks, they kept their composure and eventually wore down the visitors.

      “We didn’t change our game the last couple games,’’ Laughton said. “We need to continue to do that.’’

      A lot of this early success has to do with the hard work put forth in training camp.

      “I think we believe in each other,’’ Laughton said. “I know there’s a lot of side noise about us – everybody has their opinion – but we have our own opinion of ourselves. We’ll keep that in here and continue to try to prove people wrong. Play a hard game that you can be proud of.’’

      Tortorella is showing his players tape of their opponents but he wants the main focus to be centered on how they are executing the game plan.

      “There are not a lot of adjustments that we’re going to be making from team to team,’’ Tortorella said. “Because we’re so concerned about who our team should be, the identity that we want. Today was about getting our identity straightened out. But that’s still a ways away.’’

      >Injury update

      Tortorella said injured Cam Atkinson will not make the road trip. The coach confirmed that defenseman Rasmus Ristolainer, currently on IR, will make the road trip but his playing status is listed as uncertain.

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About Wayne Fish 2446 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.