Knock it off with all the penalties. That’s the message Flyers coach Peter Laviolette is sending his players as they prepare to face the Senators in Ottawa tomorrow.
Philadelphia dropped its first game of the season Saturday, losing in overtime to Los Angeles on – you guessed it – a Kings power-play goal.
Saturday’s defeat followed a 5-4 win over Vancouver in which the Flyers took five straight minors in the third period.
“The penalties put us in a jam two games ago, and we were able to win,” Laviolette said. “There’s not a lot that I didn’t like about our game against the Kings, except the penalties.
“If you break it down, if you put it in the simplest of terms, it cost us a point. That’s unacceptable. We’ve got to look at it and make sure we control that.”
Tim Panaccio of csnphilly.com notes the Flyers have spent 40:10 – more than two periods – on the penalty kill through just four games.
Of course, they’ve also spent 36:36 on the power play, so it’s not like they’re getting royally screwed by the referees. These things have a way of evening out. Except if you’re the Tampa Bay Lightning (39:17 shorthanded, 28:58 on the PP).
Regardless, Danny Briere knows the Flyers have to stop the parade of penalties, if only to maintain some semblance of rhythm.
“It takes away the flow of the game and it takes ice time away from a lot of players, too,’ Briere said. “When you’re sitting there, it’s tough to get back into the game. It disrupts the bench more than anything.”
Briere already has four penalties himself. But maybe some of them were coincidental minors for roughing?
No, they were not.
Damon Severson was a healthy scratch on Saturday.
It’s the last game he wants to miss this season.
“I had a good chat with a few people and just pretty much said, ‘I want to be in the next 80 games,’” Severson said, per The Record. “I sat out my game and that’s all I want to be out for for the year.”
Severson is one of the Devils’ most important young players. But this is also the 21-year-old defenseman’s sophomore season, and that’s when slumps can occur.
Hence, the early message he was sent by the coaching staff.
Severson is expected to be back in the lineup tonight when New Jersey hosts Nashville.
“He doesn’t have to be perfect,” coach John Hynes told reporters. “We’d just like to see him have a high compete level. We know he’s ready to go. We had a couple of good meetings with him. He’s in a good spot mentally. I know he’s ready to roll.”
Jake Virtanen, the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft, will make his NHL debut tonight when his Canucks meet the Kings in Los Angeles.
The 19-year-old winger was a healthy scratch for Vancouver’s first three games of the regular season. He had two goals and two assists in six preseason games.
“I can’t wait,” he told reporters. “My energy is high. I want to get a couple of hits on my first shift.”
Big and physical with goal-scoring ability, the consensus is that Virtanen will remain in the NHL and not be returned to junior after he’s played nine games. That consensus could always change based on his play, of course.
The Canucks — who won last night in Anaheim — did not have a full skate this morning, so it’s unclear who will come out of the lineup. The best guess is rookie Jared McCann, who’s been playing third-line center.
If McCann does come out, the Canucks could move Brandon Sutter to third-line center and Virtanen could take Sutter’s spot on the first line with the Sedin twins. Or, there could be more extensive line juggling.