“We will continue to work and work and work. End of Story.”
Peter Laviolette expressed those words towards of the end of December last season when the team dropped an uninspired 2-1 loss at home vs. New York Rangers. It was the team's seventh loss in their last nine games.
It was a rocky road, but the Flyers eventually found their game, made the playoffs and… well you know the story from there.
Flash forward to Sunday’s 7-0 loss to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden and the Flyers find themselves perhaps facing that same adversity.
Sure, it’s a completely different situation this season, but the adversity remains the same.
|Mike Richards fought Rangers' Brandon Dubinsky for the fourth time in his five-year NHL career. |
“I think every day is separate from another,” said Laviolette following the loss to the Rangers. “Right now we’re having a difficult time getting out of a rut, so today was not good. We have to find a way to win a hockey game and I have confidence in this group that we’ll win hockey games, but it didn’t happen today.”
The Flyers are for the first time experiencing tough losses, bad losses, bad bounces and for the first time, things aren’t going the way they had been for the first 60 games of the 2010-11 season.
So is it so surprising that their head coach once again is sending the same message to his team?
“There are definitely things that we could have done better tonight and we will continue to look at it and will we continue to work at it,” said Laviolette after their 5-3 loss vs. Buffalo on Saturday. “This team got to this point by a certain recipe and a certain identity on how to play the game and we got to continue to work at that and get back to that and wins will start to come our way. I promise you this, wins will start to come our way.”
Sunday’s loss to the Blueshirts was their fourth straight loss. It is their first four-game skid this season and first since almost a year ago (a five-game winless streak from Mar. 20-27).
“Move on. It was a beat down and a half, but it’s something we have to bounce back with a better effort,” said Flyers captain Mike Richards. “Stick with the program and don’t try to do too much out there, don’t start pointing fingers, be confident in the group and Odie [O’Donnell] said it best after the game, we have to put this one behind us and come out and have a good practice tomorrow.”
The Flyers have a complete day off from practice after the back-to-back weekend slate, but have a full month worth of games to steer the ship in the right direction and while every single player is on board with the system that led them to their success, that doesn’t mean they have to like where they are right now.
|Kris Versteeg is starting to hit his stride since coming over to the Flyers. |
“I don’t think anybody in this locker room is happy about the way we’re playing right now,” said Pronger. I think we’re at the stage now where it’s a test of our character. We have to show our metal here and understand that it’s going to take some hard work to get out of it and everybody on the same page.”
The shut out marks the sixth time this season the Flyers have been kept off the scoreboard. It may not exactly be fair to draw comparisons from last year, but the Flyers hit a similar streak in March where they had troubles producing goals.
The Flyers have not scored more than three goals in each of their last six games, while last year’s skid came in a nine-game stretch.
“We need to work on things and that is what we are battling right now. We need to stick to the work and the work ethic. We need to push," said Laviolette. “I said from the start, the month of March is going to be a month where we need to push in practice and in games. The only way to turn things is to keep on pushing.”
Come Tuesday vs. Edmonton, the Flyers will get their chance to push through this cold spell against seemingly one of the NHL’s worst teams. The Oilers however have won three straight games and are 7-3-0 in their last 10 contests.