Flyers' Berube sees hope on horizon
ANAHEIM, Calif. _ The Flyers have lost the first two games of their West Coast trip, but they have looked much better than before they headed to California.
Because of that, coach Craig Berube sees hope on the horizon.
"They've played real good hockey these last two games against two real good teams," he said of a 2-1 loss in San Jose and a 5-4 shootout defeat in Anaheim. "They're right there. The San Jose game, they should have had a point at least."
But a late defensive miscue led to the winning goal with 11.5 seconds left.
In the loss in Anaheim, the Flyers coughed up a 3-1 second-period lead.
"We should have probably shut the door there on them and played a little bit smarter hockey, but we didn't because we're pressing and you overdo it at times instead of just playing," Berube said.
The Flyers face the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings Saturday afternoon in play in Los Angeles, and Berube said his players need to play more relaxed.
That's not easy when you have lost six straight overall (0-4-2) and 10 of the last 11. Oh, and have nine consecutive losses on the road (0-7-2).
"It's about enjoying the game," Berube said. "You're playing hockey, you have to enjoy hockey. You get into these ruts at times throughout the season. It happens to a lot of teams. They all want to get out of it. They all want to win, but in doing that and getting out of this situation, they need to stick together as a team and enjoy the game. They love hockey. That's what they need to concentrate on and they'll get out of it."
Despite their struggles, the Flyers (8-13-4) have a 4-3-2 record against teams from the powerful Western Conference.
"They need to realize we're going out against these Western teams and they're some of the best teams in the league _ and they can compete with them," Berube said. "They've got to take the positives out of that and understand where they're at right now and not to press to get out of this. Trust the game and enjoy the game and play together."
In the game against Anaheim, R.J. Umberger ended a 17-game point-less streak. He began the game on the fourth line and later was moved to the third line, where he has played most of the season.
"I think Umby's game is getting better and better," Berube said. "…He's going to be fine."
Breakaways. There's a chance defenseman Michael Del Zotto returns to the lineup Saturday after being a healthy scratch the last two games. Braydon Coburn, who has been on ice for 10 opponent power-play goals in the last 12 games, is among the candidates to sit….Jake Voracek is tied for the NHL lead with 33 points; the Flyers acquired him and two draft picks that turned out to be Sean Couturier and Nick Cousins in 2011 for Jeff Carter, who is second on the Kings with 18 points. The Flyers will face Carter, Mike Richards, and Justin Williams at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.