Flyers looking to change fortunes on Western Canada road trip
The Flyers have been struggling offensively and are 1 for 13 on the power play in their last four games.
The questions are the same, the answers have become somewhat similar, but, more important, the results haven't changed recently for the Flyers.
They have lost 10 in a row, are nearing the franchise record for consecutive winless games (12) and are coming off the two worst losses of this streak.
"You guys [in the media] are going to just ask the same questions over and over, so there's only so many ways you can answer each question," winger Wayne Simmonds said Saturday after a 3-0 loss to the visiting Boston Bruins that followed Tuesday's lifeless 3-1 loss to visiting San Jose.
Now the Flyers (8-11-7) will embark on a three-game Western Canada trip in four days. It begins Monday in Calgary and continues Wednesday in Edmonton and Thursday in Vancouver.
The Flyers left for Canada after Saturday's game and it was natural to ask whether the change of scenery might help. Coach Dave Hakstol was realistic in discussing this trip.
"The Western Canadian swing is not an easy one, but it's a good time for us to go out and challenge ourselves to push in the right direction," Hakstol said.
The Flyers have played these three teams this season at home and are 1-1-1, beating Edmonton, 2-1, losing in overtime, 5-4, to Calgary, and falling to Vancouver, 5-2.
At least the Flyers won't have to hear boos from their home fans. The boos are easier to take from the opposing rooters.
So many areas need to be shored up, but usually when the Flyers struggle, is starts with a lack of offense. They are 1 for 13 over the last four games on the power play after going 0 for 6 against Boston.
In addition, the penalty kill had allowed at least one goal in seven consecutive games until Boston was 0 for 2 on the power play.
Just as they are doing in postgame interviews, the Flyers are searching for answers on the ice. What is not subject to dispute is that the Flyers are pressing.
"I think we're trying too hard," captain Claude Giroux said. "I mean, we're trying to make the extra play, we're not focusing on our job, we're just trying to do too much and just what is going on right now, we've got to do our job. We've got to simplify it and everything will be fine. We can't be forcing it too much."
One thing that would help is getting Simmonds going.
An all-star last year who has led the Flyers in goals the previous four seasons, Simmonds has seven goals and seven assists in 26 games. He tried to inspire his team by fighting with Boston's Kevan Miller and accredited himself well in the bout. Few players are more well respected on the team.
Still, Simmonds has just one goal in his last 18 games.
He is only one problem of many. The young defense is showing its relative inexperience. And the Flyers have missed defenseman Radko Gudas, whose 10-game suspension won't end until this trip concludes.
There are no easy solutions for a team that is fighting hard to stay relevant after New Year's Day.
"We have to simplify things and play with a little bit more joy," said Jake Voracek, who has a team-high 30 points. "Which is obviously tougher when we lose, eight, nine, games but it's something you have to find a way."
Now the Flyers go to Western Canada, looking to find their way.