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Cutting down on penalties key for Flyers

by Dan Rosen /

PHILADELPHIA -- The ugly cycle for the Philadelphia Flyers usually starts with the minor stick infraction like a hooking, holding or high stick. Now they're shorthanded and, well, scoring that way obviously is quite difficult.

So what's the message from coach Craig Berube as the Flyers get ready to play the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday at Wells Fargo Center?

"Stop taking stupid penalties," Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds said.

That might sound strange coming from Berube, who had more than 3,100 penalty minutes in his playing career, but as Simmonds pointed out, Berube's penalty minutes came from a lot of fights and coincidental roughing minors. They were not stick infractions like the ones that have plagued the Flyers this season.

Philadelphia has been shorthanded a League-high 33 times because it also leads the League with 39 minor penalties. Not surprisingly, the Flyers are 29th in the NHL, ahead of only the Buffalo Sabres, in goals per game (1.3).

"We've played fine 5-on-5," Simmonds said. "I honestly think we've had the momentum 5-on-5 in our last few games; it's just penalties are killing us.

"It's stuff we can control ourselves. It's not like they're roughs, coincidentals. They're stick infractions like hooks, high sticks. We can be in control of our sticks. We have to be. You can't be in the penalty box half the game and expect to win."

The Flyers like their chances against the slumping Canucks if they can stay out of the penalty box. Captain Claude Giroux said he thought they started to play Berube's up-tempo system the proper way Saturday at the Detroit Red Wings, but had nothing to show for it in a 5-2 loss because they were in the penalty box too often.

The Red Wings were 3-for-7 with the man advantage.

"We have to stay with it," Giroux said. "We can't be looking at our record right now. We have to be looking at how we're playing, how we're getting better and how we're playing as a team."

The Flyers will give Steve Mason the start in goal Tuesday. He has a 2.02 goals-against average and .935 save percentage.

Judging from the morning skate it's possible that Berube will insert Jay Rosehill in the lineup for Kris Newbury, who stayed on the ice for extra work with the defensive scratches, Hal Gill and Andrej Meszaros. Rosehill was scratched at Detroit on Saturday.

Here is the lineup the Flyers are expected to use:

Tye McGinn - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek

Maxime Talbot - Sean Couturier - Matt Read

Michael Raffl - Brayden Schenn - Wayne Simmonds

Jay Rosehill - Adam Hall - Zac Rinaldo

Kimmo Timonen - Erik Gustafsson

Braydon Coburn - Nicklas Grossmann

Mark Streit - Luke Schenn

Steve Mason

Ray Emery

Scratched: Kris Newbury, Andrej Meszaros, Hal Gill

Injured: Scott Hartnell (upper-body), Vincent Lecavalier (lower-body)


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