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Flyers need points, not silver linings

by Adam Kimelman /
PHILADELPHIA -- Flyers coach Peter Laviolette didn't want to hear about silver linings after Friday's 1-0 loss to the Montreal Canadiens.
"It's hard to talk about the silver lining right now. It's all about the points," he said. "We need to collect points right now. Did we play the way we were supposed to and the way we needed to? Yes, we did. Nobody feels good in there, I can tell you that.
"Tonight we were tight defensively. I don't think we gave up more than six quality scoring chances the whole night. Offensively it was just a press the entire 60 minutes. I'm sure they (the players) are frustrated. It's frustrating for everybody. You play a game like that, you expect to win, take the two points with you. That's what's disappointing tonight."
The bad feelings accompany a slide to eighth in the standings, two points behind the Canadiens, who passed them to move into sixth. The Flyers and Bruins both have 82 points, but the Bruins have played one fewer game, which puts them ahead of Philadelphia.
The Flyers now have lost nine of their last 11 games following their last-second win against the Blackhawks on March 13, and they've scored just 23 goals in that time.
And to make their stretch run that much harder, they next face the red-hot Detroit Red Wings, who have won seven straight and nine of their last 10 to climb to sixth place in the Western Conference. After the Red Wings game, they play at the Maple Leafs and Rangers, and close the season with a rematch against the Rangers in Philadelphia.
However, the feeling from the Philadelphia locker room following Friday's game was that if they play those final four games the same way they played against the Canadiens, they will be OK.
"We need to play this exact, same way the next four games," defenseman Chris Pronger said. "I don't think there's any secret how we need to play to be successful. Tonight was the blueprint. We got great goaltending, moved our feet well and created a lot of offense. We played physical. We didn't come away with the two points, but we need to use this exact template with each game that's coming up on the schedule."
The good goaltending was supplied by Brian Boucher, who bounced back from a poor outing Thursday against the Islanders with a strong game against the Canadiens. He stopped 22 of 23 shots and had little chance on Tomas Plekanec's goal from point-blank range off a Mike Richards turnover.
"He played a really strong game, he made a lot of good saves," Laviolette said. "There wasn't a lot of quality chances, but there was a couple, point-blank. It's a 1-0 game and you're pressing, pressing, pressing, and then all of a sudden there's an opportunity for them to make it 2-0 and he shut the door on it."
Another bright spot was rookie forward James van Riemsdyk. Stuck in a slump that has seen him score just one time in his last 16 games, van Riemsdyk was the Flyers' best forward Friday, finishing with a team-high six shots in 20:51 of ice time. Both numbers were single-game season-bests for him.
"He played a really strong game, and he played even stronger as the game went on," Laviolette said. "He was really dominating with the puck, moving through open ice, and trying to generate and create. It was a really strong game for him and he got better as it went on."
Van Riemsdyk had numerous chances Friday, including a second-period breakaway, and almost tied the game in the third, but he knocked a puck into the net with his stick above the crossbar.
"He stepped up in a big way," said Richards, who centered a line with van Riemsdyk and Claude Giroux on Friday. "He played well."
And the coach echoed his players when he said that, as a team, they played well enough to win Friday and more efforts like that will get them into the postseason.
"We need to play that way, and yes, I believe we can get in (the playoffs)," said Laviolette. "We need to continue to work hard and play those games."
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