Philadelphia Flyers: Looking to recover after awful week

(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

Last week was terrible on and off the ice for the Philadelphia Flyers, who return home on Tuesday looking to get back to playing winning hockey.

An 0-3 road trip where they were outscored by a combined 14-5 was the least of what went wrong for the Philadelphia Flyers over the last week.

We all heard the news about Oskar Lindblom, and the team also lost numerous other forwards to injury in rapid succession, a series of events that threatens to put a serious dent into what had been an overwhelmingly positive start to the season until just recently.

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After Monday’s news that Joel Farabee will miss three games with a suspension, things suddenly seem even more dire for the Orange and Black. When the team faces off on Tuesday night against the visiting Anaheim Ducks, the Flyers will be icing a lineup lacking in NHL experience and, in some cases, true big-league talent.

This doesn’t mean that some of the players currently on the roster can’t step up and help the team in short bursts, but it does make things more difficult on everyone.

Our attention should immediately be drawn to the top of the lineup, where Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek and Sean Couturier have to come up huge while a good chunk of their support system is out of the lineup.

For Giroux, 22 points in 33 games isn’t cutting it. He needs to maintain a point-per-game pace if the Flyers hope to compete with more talented offensive teams. Since Giroux’s 4-point explosion on November 21, he has just five points (3G, 2 A) in 11 games.

Giroux always seemed to collect the helpers even when the puck wasn’t going in for him, but even those assists have dried up. The captain needs to find his game quickly.

Things have been even worse for Voracek. After suffering through a 12-game goalless drought earlier this season, Voracek scored in consecutive games back in late November. But now he is at nine games and counting without a goal since then.

As for Couturier, he never receives anywhere near the level of scrutiny that Giroux and Voracek do, most likely due to his excellent all-around game and the fact that he still seems to stand out even when he isn’t scoring. But the last two seasons have shown us that Couturier can be counted on for consistent offense, and his totals are lagging this season. He is “riding” a 7-game goalless skid of his own. Time for “Coots” to pick it up.

The Flyers’ “Big Three” aren’t the only players in the lineup who need to rise to the occasion while the team faces its current adversity; they’re just the players who most immediately jump to mind. Appropriately, we are talking about the captain and his two alternates, the leadership group that needs to set the tone in the locker room and on the ice.

Meanwhile, just about the only player who looks to be trending in the right direction is James van Riemsdyk, who scored in the final two games of the road trip. JvR has had a pretty miserable season so far, but he will be greatly needed right now as he ascends into the “top six” of the forward ranks for the time being.

van Riemsdyk will likely be seeing an added three to five minutes of ice time per game for the foresseable future. Even if he is a defensive liability, the Flyers don’t have much choice. The scoring options are thin, so the guys who can put the puck in the net have to play and they have to produce.

It’s easy to forget that the Flyers had registered points in eight out of nine games immediately before their miserable road trip. But that just shows how quickly they can flip the script once again.

Next. Flyers: Farabee's suspension was undeserved. dark

The Flyers’ players can’t control the off-ice news and the injury-return timetables. But they can begin to fix things on the ice, starting Tuesday against Anaheim.