At the Olympic break, Flyers coach Craig Berube said he wanted his team to focus on defense and disciplined play for the rest of the season.
The Flyers have struggled in both areas since the break ended, but you can't argue with the bottom line: three wins in four games, giving them seven victories in their last eight contests.
In Wednesday's fight-filled, 6-4 win over Washington, the Flyers gave the Capitals a chance at a comeback. The Caps got three power plays in the second half of the game and scored on all three.
"Discipline is one thing we talk about," defenseman Luke Schenn said after Thursday's practice at the Skate Zone in Voorhees. In Wednesday's win, "we were in pretty good control of the game, and then a couple penalties ended up hurting us. There are some better penalties to take, obviously, if it prevents a scoring chance, but all in all, we have to be more disciplined."
Berube, whose team plays in Toronto on Saturday night, agrees that the Flyers can play smarter and should be more in control.
But he also said that some of Wednesday's infractions weren't warranted, and that they helped the Capitals nearly overcome a 4-0 deficit and get to within 5-4 late in the game.
"I didn't like the calls in the third period, to be honest with you," Berube said, referring to an elbowing penalty against Steve Downie and a hooking infraction on Mark Streit.
Berube was also upset that Washington's John Erskine had his gloves off to fight Vinny Lecavalier, just after a fight between Luke Schenn and the Capitals' Tom Wilson had ended. Lecavalier and Erskine were automatically ejected because of the "secondary fight" rule.
"What's Vinny supposed to do? The guy [Erskine] is grabbing people and stuff. To me, he had instigated that, and to come out shorthanded, I'm not sure it's the right call," Berube said.
"I think Erskine deserved more than he got."
A little later, Berube said: "I don't like to complain about refereeing because it's a tough job . . . but I didn't like the calls."
The Flyers lead the NHL with an average of 15.6 penalty minutes per game.
"You guys shouldn't ask me another question about penalties, and I probably shouldn't say another thing to the team about it because it doesn't work. Does it?" Berube said.
On a positive note, Berube said he likes the character his team has displayed to overcome a 1-7 start and climb into second place in the Metropolitan Division. In the four games since the Olympic break, the Flyers have allowed a whopping 17 goals but have scored 18.
Berube was asked whether he thought the Flyers' Broad Street Bullies legacy influenced the officiating.
"Call up the league and ask them," he said.
"I'll put it to you this way: We're not going to get any breaks. You just deal with it."