After their holiday break, Flyers will try to keep winning streak alive on the road
The Flyers, winners of four straight, will go on a season-high six game road trip after the holiday break.
At home, the Flyers have been one of the NHL’s most successful teams, putting together a 13-2-4 record.
On the road?
The Flyers are just 8-9-1 on the road, including a winless three-game trip recently when they were outscored, 14-5, by Colorado, Minnesota, and Winnipeg.
After a three-day holiday break, they return to practice Friday morning in Voorhees before starting their longest trip of the season Saturday, a six-game, 12-day journey that begins in San Jose and has stops in Anaheim, Los Angeles, Vegas, Arizona, and Carolina.
“We’ve played a lot of hockey, so it’s nice to recharge the batteries and take some downtime,” goalie Carter Hart said after making 34 saves Monday, helping spark a 5-1 home win over the New York Rangers before an energized sellout crowd. “Make the most of this recovery time and make sure you’re sharper and ready to go out of the break.”
The Flyers are surging, winning four straight and climbing into third place in the Metropolitan Division. The streak followed an injury-plagued 0-3 road trip, during which time the Flyers learned coming-of-age left winger Oskar Lindblom has a rare bone cancer.
Since then, the team has regrouped, inspired by seeing Lindblom in the locker room last week. Since then, they have won four in a row
“We put those three losses behind us,” defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere said.
“Our last road trip, we kind of had some injuries going around,” rookie winger Joel Farabee said. “Hopefully we can get some guys back healthy.”
Scott Laughton, who has been missed the last five games because of a groin injury, is expected to return Saturday in San Jose. Michael Raffl (broken finger, sidelined last nine games) is expected to return in Anaheim on Sunday, the first day he is eligible to come off the long-term injured reserve list.
When those two forwards return, Andy Andreoff and Misha Vorobyev could be sent back to the Phantoms. Laughton might move back to center on a line with Raffl and Tyler Pitlick.
Thus far, the Flyers have a combined 4-1 record this season against the six teams they will face on the road journey, outscoring them, 20-10. Four of those five games, however, have been at home.
“Being on the road that long is tough,” Farabee said. “You’ve got to be ready every night, so it should be a good test for us.”
“We haven’t been the strongest team on the road, but it’s not like we haven’t been in (most of) the games,” Gostisbehere said.
Gostisbehere has played much better since a three-game benching in late November. Since returning to the lineup, he has four goals and is plus-6 in his last 12 games.
“For sure,” he said when asked if he felt the benching had been a motivator. He said he was once again making plays and “having fun” on the ice and “realizing I’m a good player. When I make plays out there is when I’m at my best. (I’m) getting pucks to guys and getting in scoring position and getting chances.”
Getting improved road play from Hart is needed. Hart has been spectacular at home, compiling an 11-1-2 record with a 1.49 goals-against average and .947 save percentage. On the road, he is just 2-6-1 with a 3.59 GAA and .859 save percentage.
Hart, 21, who has climbed to fifth in the NHL with a 2.27- GAA, is not alone with a huge discrepancy in home-road success. The entire Flyers team has played much better at the Wells Fargo Center.
At home, they are averaging 3.79 goals per game and allowing 1.95. On the road, they are averaging just 2.50 goals per game and allowing 3.56.
Their power play clicks much better at home (24.2 percent) than on the road (13.7 percent).
The Flyers’ penalty kill (83 percent success rate) is tied for seventh in the 31-team NHL, while their power play is 15th with a 19.5 percent success rate. … The Flyers continue to lead the league in faceoff percentage (54.3 percent) and they are averaging the second-fewest shots allowed per game (29). … The Flyers are seventh in the NHL with a .635 points percentage.