Morning After: Flyers give away point in must-win game

A look at the Flyers October schedule and the way the first three games have played out brings a frightening though to mind.

Last season, the Flyers started the season 1-7-0 in eight games. For the second straight season, the Flyers have opened with three straight losses after a 4-3 shootout loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night.

It was a game where the Flyers led 3-0 following two periods. There were two points easily within their grasp. They managed one. With the type of schedule facing the Flyers in October, points cannot be given away.

Three straight losses helped put Craig Berube into the head coaching position with the Flyers last season. For the second straight season, he must find a way to lead the Flyers out of such a hole.

"You can’t let it creep into your focus of playing the game," Berube said on Friday following a 6-4 loss tot he Devils. "You’re going to think about it. You can’t tell a guy not to think about it, but you can’t get into your focus. You’ve got to focus on playing the game."

So what happened on Saturday?

"When they got that first goal, we stopped playing and started watching," Berube said. "If we had gotten some zone time, it would probably have made a difference and give the guys a little momentum."

The Flyers had a total of four shots in the third period after scoring three times on Carey Price in the first two periods. Wayne Simmonds scored two of the goals. His four goals in three games lead the team.

But Simmonds provided some insight on what didn't help the Flyers once the Canadiens started to chip away at the lead at 7:05 on a goal by Andrei Markov. When Tomas Plekanec cut the lead to one 2:07 later, Simmonds said the Flyers should have reacted with anger. Instead, Montreal tied the game on a deflection by Alex Galchenyuk with 5:20 remaining in the third.

"You get angry. As a team, that's when you got to start getting mad," Simmonds said. "Even after the first goal. You start there. You stop it right away. But we continued to turn the puck over. It didn't help us any."

In the loss to the Devils, it was the Flyers defense searching for answers when they had scored four goals. Claude Giroux said then, it was about the forwards helping the defensemen out. Following Saturday's loss, the message remained the same, with no results to be seen just yet.

"We know we can play our game and we got away from it and let our goalie play by himself for a couple minutes," Giroux said. "It can’t happen."

"We got to find a way to win those games," Jake Voracek said. "It’s 3-0, third period. No matter how they play we have to hold. We sat back, they came at us. They killed us."

With the Ducks, Stars, Blackhawks and Penguins on the schedule over the next two weeks, the Flyers face an uphill battle to avoid a similar start to last season. They were able to make the recovery once. There isn't much evidence at the moment that says they will climb their way out of a start like that this season.

But that is the path the Flyers are on. And if they don't find a way to grab hold of games in the early stages and hold momentum to gain maximum points, there won't be a playoff run to speak of this season.

Kevin Durso is the lead beat writer for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.

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