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Work Before Play

by Staff Writer / Philadelphia Flyers

The Flyers got a pre-Thanksgiving workout in on Thursday, gathering for a late-morning practice at the Virtua Center Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees. It was a spirited skate where the team was focusing on trying to generate some more chances on offense, which head coach Dave Hakstol said was an issue on Wednesday night in the 3-1 loss to the New York Islanders.

“Our results have been up and down over the last couple of weeks here,” Hakstol said. “The offensive side, there’s been some signs, but we haven’t consistently shown those signs. We have to do a better job there. We’ve put a lot of emphasis on our play without the puck. I think we’ve improved there on a consistent basis.”

The Flyers had eight shots in the first 12:48 of Wednesday’s game, but didn’t have any shots in the final 7:12 of the first period and were held to just ten shots the rest of the way. At the end of the night, they had more shots blocked (21) than they had on goal (18). Hakstol said after the game he wasn’t pleased with the way the Flyers moved the puck out of their own zone, so the team spent time working on that.

“We have to try and create and execute some different options in the offensive zone,” Hakstol said. “One of the things we’ve got away from is consistent speed on our attack. We haven’t had a lot off the rush in the last little while here. We’ve got to work to do a better job there.”

Hakstol hinted that he may be considering putting Evgeny Medvedev back in the lineup when the Flyers host Nashville on Friday. Medvedev has missed the last three weeks, first with an injury and then as a healthy scratch. But despite that being a long hiatus, Hakstol thinks Medvedev might be able to help with the team’s offensive struggles.

“One of the areas that we’re looking to do a little bit better and produce more offense is off the rush, and secondly on the offensive blue line – improving some of the things that we’re doing there,” Hakstol said. “That’s not all on our defensemen, but part of that is what we’re looking at in terms of him. He certainly has abilities there. We’ve seen those in practice and we’ve seen them previously in games.”

The Flyers will be taking on a Nashville team that has a speedy defense of its own, and one that finally got on the scoreboard Wednesday night in a 3-2 win over Buffalo after going more than 220 minutes without a goal.

“They’ve got a group of D back there that get up ice so well,” Hakstol said. “They’ve got realistically three or four guys who are up ice a lot. There’s a couple of them that lead the pack. They present a real challenge both off the rush and in zone. They’re a team that transitions well and gets up ice in a hurry.”

The Flyers will drop the puck with Nashville at 3:30 PM on Friday, with television coverage on Comcast SportsNet and the radio broadcast on 97.5 The Fanatic.

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