With a successful homestand in the books which saw the Flyers record nine out of a possible 10 points, the club heads to the nation’s capital to kick off an equally important four-game road trip.
Although secondary scoring is up and the fourth line of VandeVelde-Bellemare-Lecavalier are continuing their success, the 4-0-1 record is the ratio the Flyers wish to keep rolling, but one aspect of the streak they need to change is a spark to their top line.
Claude Giroux (1g-1a), Jakub Voracek (3a) and Brayden Schenn (1g-1a) combined for just seven points in the five games, and just five shots on net in the last two games.
None of the shots on goal came from Voracek, who continues to lead the NHL’s scoring race, but is now tied with Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane with 58 points.
“The third period was a little better last game, but sometimes it happens when you get a little tired. The legs don’t go as much as you want them to go,” said Voracek. “I’ve been in that situation a lot of times in my career. For me it’s how to find away to avoid those slumps for a long time and that’s what I’ve been doing this year all season long so I don’t see a reason why I shouldn’t have five shots on net against Washington.”
Having two players in the Top 10 in scoring for most of the season is a stat that most teams take notice of, especially late in the year when a majority of the games are close and low-scoring.
“We know we’re going to get good checking every night. Every night is going to be tough for us, but we just have to find a better way to get pucks and traffic to the net,” said Brayden Schenn. “I don’t think we’ve been as good off the rush as we have been in the past or as well down low in the cycle game.”
Flyers head coach Craig Berube offered a few reasons on how and why the trio can get back on track.
“They’re not working together right now, for me, the line [is] getting knocked off the puck too easy - one and done right away,” said Berube. “[They’re] just not getting through the neutral zone good enough with speed and getting it into the offensive zone, then when they do they have to get more involved in the forecheck, get more physical and win more battles.”
Another injured Flyers defensemen took an important step to get back into the lineup at practice. Braydon Coburn skated with the team for the first time since suffering his lower-body injury against Tampa Bay on Jan. 12.
“It felt good to be out with the guys,” said Coburn, who joined the team on the road trip. “Just getting into flow drills. Feel the puck and be part of this group. It’s a good feeling.”
There’s no hard timeline for Coburn’s return. He has been out of the lineup for the last nine games.
“He skated well. Coby always moves well. He’s a great skater, but it’s his first practice,” added Berube. “We’ll see how he does every day and how he’s feeling.”
Meanwhile, Coburn’s long time blueline partner also took another stride forward to a comeback. Kimmo Timonen skated for the second straight day by himself after the team finished practice.