Usually you want to try to avoid reading too much into a rough start to the season, but with the 48-game schedule, a 0-2-0 record is concerning. After dropping games against Pittsburgh and Buffalo, Philadelphia needs answers quickly if they want to avoid digging a bigger hole for themselves.
One of the areas that they’ve struggled in early on is killing penalties. Philadelphia was merely adequate in that regard last season, but they’ve already surrendered five power-play goals in just two contests in 2013. That accounts for the Flyers’ entire goals deficit so far.
“There’s lots of things, but yes, we have to be better in that area,” Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said in a CSN Philly report. “… the penalty kill we have to look at it and work at it.
“Every day is a new opportunity, but we gotta get on track here, get a win in the column and moving in the right direction.”
Flyers captain Claude Giroux suggested that the team needed to get off to a better start in Sunday’s 5-2 loss to Buffalo and Danny Briere’s absence due to a hairline fracture in his wrist is also hurting them.
Whatever the problems might be, the Flyers need to address them quickly. The condensed schedule means that Philadelphia won’t have much time to reflect on its early losses. After getting Monday off, they will play five games in just eight days. That stretch includes two games against the New York Rangers and one against another division rival, the New Jersey Devils.
“We gotta change the situation quickly if we want to be part of the playoff race,” Ilya Bryzgalov noted.
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It’s going to be interesting to see if Hammond can replicate the success he had last season, when he came out of nowhere to go 20-1-2 with a 1.79 GAA and .941 save percentage, and finish seventh in Vezina voting.