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Flyers defense looking to ‘end plays’ quickly in their own zone in an effort to generate more offensive opportunities

Flyers know they have to improve defensively in order to win games again.

Flyers defenseman Justin Braun defends Carolina Hurricanes right wing Andrei Svechnikov on Friday, November 26, 2021 in Philadelphia.
Flyers defenseman Justin Braun defends Carolina Hurricanes right wing Andrei Svechnikov on Friday, November 26, 2021 in Philadelphia.Read moreYONG KIM / Staff Photographer

Less than 30 seconds after the puck dropped between the Flyers and the New York Rangers on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden, the home team took up residency in the offensive zone.

The Rangers mustered a 30-second shift swarming around the Flyers’ net, registering two shots on goal and sending one wide. While the Rangers didn’t score in that particular time frame, defenseman Justin Braun said that those types of extended shifts are exactly what the Flyers need to limit in order to turn around the team’s seven-game skid.

“We’ve been giving teams a little bit too much time and space in the d-zone,” Braun said of the Flyers’ last 11 games. “We’ve got to close faster. We’ve got to end plays. We can’t give teams 30 [-second], 45 [-second], minute shifts in the o-zone. We’ve got to shut that down a little quicker. Those are the shifts that will kind of eat you up, wear you down for later in the night.”

By tightening up defensively and limiting opponents’ puck possession in their attacking zone, the Flyers look to create more opportunities on offense. Over their last 11 games, the Flyers have a 44.56% shot attempt rate at five-on-five (ranking 28th in the league since Nov. 10) indicating that their opponents are spending more time with the puck than the Flyers are.

While puck possession doesn’t necessarily translate to goals, in the Flyers’ case, it has — in that same three-week stretch, the Flyers rank second-to-last in the league with a 29.51% goals-for rate.

“I think the main thing for us and how we’re going to create offense is killing plays in the d-zone,” forward Morgan Frost said. “I think if we defend well first and get the puck back, then it’ll create more offense for us. I think we’re kind of lacking a bit of confidence and maybe not defending as well as we should be, and then we don’t spend as much time with the puck, don’t get as many odd-man rushes.”

Flyers to honor the late Phil Weinberg against Lightning

On Sunday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Flyers will honor the late Phil Weinberg, who died Wednesday. Weinberg served as the alternate governor of the Flyers and executive vice president and chief legal counsel for Comcast Spectacor. He spent 31 years with the Flyers organization as an adviser to both former chairman Ed Snider and current chairman Dave Scott.

Prior to puck drop, public address announcer Lou Nolan will lead a tribute and a moment of silence. Anthem singer Lauren Hart will wear a custom Flyers jersey in Weinberg’s honor bearing No. 90, representing his first year with the Flyers in 1990.

The Flyers will feature Weinberg’s initials, PIW, in several mediums at the Wells Fargo Center — on players’ helmets in the form of decals; on coaches, executives, and event staff in the form of buttons and pins; and on the dasher boards. The team will also place two-dozen orange roses at Weinberg’s usual seat in the executive suite.

» READ MORE: Phil Weinberg, longtime attorney for Flyers, Wells Fargo Center, and Comcast Spectacor, dies at 66


The Flyers activated forward Patrick Brown from injured reserve after he missed the last seven games with a thumb injury. Brown was a participant in the Flyers’ back-to-back practices following their game against the Rangers. Through six games played on the fourth line, Brown has one assist. ... In a corresponding move, the Flyers loaned forward Max Willman to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.