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Postgame Perspective: 2nd-period struggles continue for Flyers

When the Flyers lost to Nashville on Saturday night, it was difficult to tell if the Flyers were experiencing the pitfalls of a break or just struggling to get going against a tough defensive team.

The Arizona Coyotes entered Monday's game allowing 111 goals this season, fourth-most in the NHL. This was not a feared defense. And the Flyers made them look like one.

When the Flyers finally turned it on, they nearly made it all the way back. In 10 minutes of energetic play, the Flyers almost got a point. But it's the play in the first 50 minutes, most notably the second period, that was so alarming.

"We have to come out and start getting points on a consistent basis," Steve Mason said. "We had a strong first period and fell back in the second. When we see the type of team that we can be when firing on all cylinders, we're a dangerous team. We just have to have that consistently."

Mason made 21 saves in his return to the lineup. The first period, where he faced just six shots, he seemed shaky. One shot deflected off Nick Grossmann and beat him.

The Flyers had 14 shots in the first period and were getting chances. Devan Dubnyk was a primary reason the Flyers were held off the board.

But as the game progressed, the Flyers were easily frustrated as the little mistakes continued to hurt them. Passes weren't close to connecting. The skating was slow. In the second and for most of the third, the shots the Flyers did take weren't all that difficult on Dubnyk.

"It's frustrating to lose the hockey game when we came out the way we did in the first," head coach Craig Berube said. "We got really down after the first goal. We turned the puck over too much [in the second]. It wasn't a good second period until six minutes to go in the period. We had a good third."

"Second periods seem to be a common theme throughout the season," R.J. Umberger, who scored both goals for the Flyers, said. "If it was something simple, I think we'd correct it. It's something we have to look deep down and see what we're doing between periods.

"The second period is huge. It sets up your whole game. We can't continue to be down two goals going to the third."

This is a time where the Flyers desperately need to earn points to stay relevant in the playoff race. Going into the Christmas break, the Flyers were six points out of a playoff spot following a three-game win streak that certainly showed promise. Following back-to-back losses, they are eight points out.

It's still not insurmountable, but given Arizona's recent struggles - three of their last four wins were against the NHL's worst team, the Edmonton Oilers - there were points there for the taking.

"It doesn't matter if it's a good or bad team," Claude Giroux said. "There's no bad teams in the league. We want to be a consistent team and we've got to find a way to do it every night."

"These are two points that were critical for us." Umberger said. "We fought to get to .500. We needed to get back there and get rolling. These points are a lot easier to get now than in April."

"We have to be more consistent," Mason said. "We need to start climbing the standings and tonight didn't help us."

There are three games left over this road trip where points could be easily obtained.

The Flyers face the Colorado Avalance on Wednesday. The Flyers previously defeated them, 4-3, in November and the Avalance sit last in the Central Division.

It's off to Carolina on Friday. Earlier this month, the Flyers handily defeated Carolina, 5-1. The Hurricanes have the fewest points in the East with 24 and are 2-7-1 in their last 10 games.

The road trip closes against the New Jersey Devils. The Flyers also beat them handily this month and the Devils just underway a massive coaching overhaul. They are 2-5-3 in their last 10 games.

There are six points potentially waiting to be grabbed. The Flyers got the first six on this trip the hard way. They likely need six more to make this road trip a complete success and return home in early January with a chance to get going.

But that task just became an uphill battle, losing to the Coyotes.

Wins in two of the last three games on the road trip would be excellent. But it won't erase much of the deficit in the standings. And that was aided by Monday's sloppy loss.

"We talk about things we've got to do and how to play and we haven't risen to the occassion on a number of times in the second period," Berube said. "It's tough to get shots on net when you turn the puck over all the time and don't have it. That's what we did in the second.

"It's lost points. That's for sure. You have to play for 60 minutes in this league against everybody. And when you don't, you're going to give yourself an opportunity to lose."

Kevin Durso is managing editor for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.

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THEFLYERROB

Hey FLYERS FANS!

SO I planned my day around the 9pm Game out in the Desert against the "Arizona" Coyotes and here is what I saw.

Stop me if you heard this before,..

First period they came out like gangbusters determined to put the puck in the back of the net. Worked really hard but had no goals to show for their Effort. Then in the final 2 minutes of the Period, "Arizona" scored. First Period FLYERS outshot the Coyotes, but the Coyotes got on board with a Fluky Deflected Shot on Goal that Steve Mason had no chance to save against. (seem to have heard that from somewhere before?!)

Second Period the FLYERS came out FLATTER than a Pancake. It seems that whenever the FLYERS work really hard and the other team gets a Lucky Fluke Goal or gets any goal for that matter, They develop Amnesia on the topic of hard work. They seem to be Mentally weak in being able to face that life is not fair. You can work really hard but if the other team scores and you don't anything to show for it, well, lets just pout and play half hearted and give up on what helped you have a Solid hard Working Period.

The third period was a "Wake up you Bunch of crybaby pro hockey players!" & "Work Hard on what got you a Solid First Period to have a Solid Third Period!" A Little too late last minute heroic's. Hhhhmmmm.....

I have seen to have heard this story a few dozen times this year.

This team is not Mentally tough.

Period!

The way I see it. there are only a few players that are safe from a shake up. Giroux, Vorachek, Simmonds, Mason, and Streit. Those 5 are probably the only ones that are hands off. The rest of the team regardless of talent are not safe from any shake up at all!!!

But, .. Laughton is a talented future prospect! But,.. Couturier is a talented future prospect!
But, .. B. Schenn is a talented future prospect!

All true, However this team has Extremely Poor Chemistry. No Heart, No Passion, No Locker room Leadership to the point that the GM has to be the one to come down and raise Holy Cane and flip chairs and curse like a Drunken Sailor (Hello? Giroux? where were you?)

SO this team needs to be Gutted, then GUT it! and No one is Safe but those 5 players and some of the Future Prospects that are not on the team. Now of course your not going to trade all 15 players on this team but, If you do a shake up, and say some players of Talent are left over and the CHEMISTRY is right and the Leadership is present, Then that's a Win-Win situation.

I really cannot blame Coach Craig Berube (yet) because he only has the players and talent to work with that is put in front of him. He can only yell and flip chairs so much but LEADERSHIP COMES FROM WITHIN. LEAD BY EXAMPLE! A PLAYER WITH A HARD WORK ETHIC AND A VOICE. Sure Claude and Jake are leading the league in the Point Production but 1. Things come easy to those who are blessed with talent and 2. what good is it to lead the league when you cannot motivate and lead your team and your stuck in the basement.

We need a Locker Room presence like a Chris Pronger or a Rick Tocchet or a Roderick Jean Brind'Amour. (AKA Rod the Bod!) or a Mark Recchi. We need someone who would stand up after the first 5 or 6 minutes on the Bench and start Yelling up and down the bench to "WORK HARDER OR ELSE BE READY TO DO SPEED SKATING DRILLS ALL NIGHT TILL YOUR LEGS FEEL LIKE JELL-O & YOU PUKE!"

Here is a Stone Cold Hard Fact: FLYERS have been chasing a top 8 East Playoff spot and out of Playoff contention since after game 1 of the Season. Need I say more about Proof of Bad Chemistry?

Therefore, It is Broken, and Needs to be Fixed.

Because This bunch of FLYERS Players are,.. well, .. just going thru the motions!

Just Sayin'

By FLYERROB

THEFLYERROB

Hey FLYERS FANS,

Did you Notice something,... when I commented,

We need a Locker Room presence like a Chris Pronger or a Rick Tocchet or a Roderick Jean Brind'Amour. (AKA Rod the Bod!) or a Mark Recchi.

These are all STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS!!!!!

Just Sayin'

By FLYERROB

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