VANCOUVER - Flyers captain Claude Giroux says shootouts are "mind games" between the shooter and the goalie.
If so, perhaps Flyers shooters are overthinking the process and need to start relying on their instincts in the breakaway competition.
No matter how much time they spend on it in practices, the Flyers struggle mightily when games reach the dreaded shootout. Sunday night was the latest example. The Flyers played a solid road game but dropped a 2-1 shootout in Ottawa. That made them 3-9 in shootouts this season and an NHL-worst 30-60 since the rule was adopted in 2005-06.
This season, Los Angeles (2-7) is the only NHL team that has a worse winning percentage in shootouts than the Flyers.
In their latest defeat, the Flyers were 0 for 3 in the shootout, falling to 10 for 45 (22.2 percent) - tied for 25th in the 30-team league - for the season. Flyers goalies also have struggled in shootouts, compiling just a .622 save percentage, 24th in the NHL.
The Flyers have squandered numerous points lately in games that have gone beyond regulation. In their last nine games that have been decided in overtime or a shootout, they are 1-8 - one of the biggest reasons they are nine points out of the last Eastern Conference playoff spot.
"We were talking about it last night," defenseman Luke Schenn said Sunday after the loss. "You look at some of the top teams in the league, they don't have as many one-point shootout losses or overtime losses as we do, and that could be the difference in being in a better position for a playoff spot."
The Flyers, who play in Vancouver on Tuesday night, have 15 overtime/shootout losses, the most in the NHL.
"You can't blame the guys shooting, but for whatever reason, it's been a struggle this year," Schenn added.
Giroux is 1 for 10 in shootouts, while Sean Couturier (1 for 7) Matt Read, Vinny Lecavalier, and Brayden Schenn are a combined 1 for 17. Most of the Flyers' shooters have not looked confident, based on their body language, during the breakaway contests.
"It probably is mental, nothing more than that," said coach Craig Berube, who may experiment with different shooters such as Zac Rinaldo or Pierre-Edouard Bellemare in the season's final three-plus weeks. "I mean, they have the skill to put the puck in the net."
Wayne Simmonds (4 for 7) and Jake Voracek (4 for 10) are the only Flyers who have had shootout success.
Read returned to Philadelphia to be with his expectant wife. With Read likely out of the lineup, Nick Cousins, recalled from Lehigh Valley on Saturday and a healthy scratch on Sunday, figures to make his NHL debut against Vancouver. . . . Michael Del Zotto (upper-body injury) will not play Tuesday but is possible for Thursday in Calgary, GM Ron Hextall said. . . .The Flyers have had 23 games go beyond regulation, one shy of equaling the franchise record set in 1998-99, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.