PHILADELPHIA -- After a lost weekend, the Philadelphia Flyers returned to work Tuesday looking forward, not back, starting with their game Tuesday against the visiting Dallas Stars.
The Flyers went into the weekend four points behind the Boston Bruins in the race for the second Eastern Conference wild-card spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They were less than 15 seconds from cutting that deficit to two points, leading the Bruins 2-1, when the Bruins tied the game and won in overtime. Then the Flyers lost 5-2 to the New Jersey Devils on Sunday after the Bruins defeated the Detroit Red Wings, and by Sunday night they were seven points behind the Bruins.
"Sunday was awful, can't really sugarcoat it any other way," Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds said. "It wasn't ideal. But you've got to forget about that one quickly. If you don't forget about it, it's going to be a detriment to the team. Short memories and keep going."
The Flyers took Monday off, using the day away to refresh themselves as much mentally as physically. Coach Craig Berube said he was happy with what he saw during the morning skate Tuesday.
"They were motivated today," he said. "I liked the morning skate. They looked good out there, rejuvenated, ready to go."
Said Simmonds, "I thought we were snapping the puck crisp, guys were moving their legs out there. It's a morning skate, you don't go too long, just make sure you're executing and I think we did that."
With their deficit at seven points with 15 games left, a number of the Flyers said there was no point watching the out-of-town scoreboard like they had been.
"If we don't do what we have to do it doesn't even matter at the end of the day," Simmonds said. "Doesn't matter if we get help if we're not going to compete out there 100 percent every shift, every period. It's not really going to matter what the other teams are doing."
The Stars, 10 points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference, feel the same way.
"You're at the point now, we're far back enough, maybe next day you'll see highlights," Stars center Tyler Seguin said. "It's not like during a game when you're real tight in the standings, like last year, you'd look up and see what the other teams are doing. Too much work before that if we want to get in that situation."
Seguin is putting in extra work. He scored two goals Saturday against the Tampa Bay Lightning, his first game back after missing three weeks with an injury to his right knee. Seguin said he isn't 100 percent but knew it was important for him to get back in the lineup.
"It's kind of at the point where it's going to stay this way and in two or three months it'll be back to normal," he said. "Until then it's definitely not anywhere near 100 percent. But you do what you can. ... It's pretty much do or die every night. I think a lot of guys at this point in the year in the League are playing through stuff; mine is just a little bit more publicly known, you can see it [knee brace]. Try to do what you can to help the team. I think I can be more helpful in the lineup at 60, 70 percent than sitting in the stands not playing at all."
Stars coach Lindy Ruff said it provided a lift to have back Seguin, who leads the Stars with 31 goals and is second with 61 points.
"He's one of our leaders, one of our guys that we count on," Ruff said. "To see him back out there, I think it is a boost to your hockey club."
Here are the projected lineups:
Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Patrick Eaves
Antoine Roussel - Jason Spezza - Cody Eakin
Curtis McKenzie - Shawn Horcoff - Ales Hemsky
Ryan Garbutt - Vernon Fiddler - Colton Sceviour
Alex Goligoski - John Klingberg
Jordie Benn - Jason Demers
Patrik Nemeth - Jyrki Jokipakka
Scratched: Jamie Oleksiak, Brett Ritchie
Injured: Trevor Daley (knee), Travis Moen (upper body), Valeri Nichushkin (lower body)
Brayden Schenn - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek
Matt Read - Sean Couturier - Wayne Simmonds
Zac Rinaldo - Michael Raffl - Ryan White
Chris VandeVelde - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Vincent Lecavalier
Nick Schultz - Mark Streit
Nicklas Grossmann - Andrew MacDonald
Carlo Colaiacovo - Luke Schenn
Scratched: R.J. Umberger, Brandon Manning
Injured: Radko Gudas (knee), Michael Del Zotto (upper body)
Status report: Demers arrived at the rink sick and was sent back to the hotel; Ruff said he is a game-time decision. If Demers can't play, Oleksiak would return to the lineup. Oleksiak was recalled from Texas of the American Hockey League on Sunday. ... Klingberg will play after leaving the game Saturday during the second period because of a lower-body injury. "He skated well yesterday in practice," Ruff said. "Same today."... Grossmann will play after missing four games because of an upper-body injury. ... Umberger will miss his first game of the season; he has gone 18 games without a goal, and has nine goals and 15 points in 67 games. "The biggest think that's bothering me is I feel like I've let [general manager Ron] Hextall down," Umberger said. "He believed in me, bringing me here, and I felt I haven't been the player he needs. ... You get some good moments and you lose it. Confidence has a lot to do with it. There's no excuses, you've got to figure it out. If not, you're going to be in the press box. I probably deserve it."
Who's hot: Klingberg has points in four straight games. ... Raffl has three goals and two assists in his past five games.