Relieved Flyers looking for a rare winning streak
When they meet Connor McDavid and Edmonton on Wednesday, the Flyers will try to win their second straight game for just the second time this season.
EDMONTON, Alberta — Having ended a 10-game losing streak, the relieved Flyers will be seeking back-to-back wins for just the second time this season when they face underachieving Edmonton on Wednesday night.
The Flyers are coming off Monday's streak-breaking 5-2 victory in Calgary, a win that featured Brian Elliott's 43 saves, Scott Laughton's two goals, and Jake Voracek's three assists.
"We've been through a rough stretch here," Elliott said Tuesday after practice at Rogers Place. "We won one game and that doesn't really prove anything or really do too much for us, so we have to put some wins together."
The Flyers went 0-5-5 during their skid, including four overtime losses.
Monday's victory was "huge for our confidence, just knowing what it takes to get a win," said winger Dale Weise, who left the game after getting hit in the head by Travis Hamonic and did not return. He practiced Tuesday and is ready to play Wednesday. "I thought that was a pretty complete effort by our club, and for us to continue to win games, we're going to need that."
The Flyers went into Monday's game with changes on all four lines. The new lines and a 1-2-2 alignment helped produce their highest scoring output since a 5-1 win over Florida on Oct. 17.
"We have to stay hungry for wins," Weise said. "…I think when you lose 10 in a row, you kind of get that hunger back — not that we didn't have it at the beginning of the year, but I think we've got that urgency in our game now where we just hate to lose and it really bothers every guy in here."
The Flyers (9-11-7) will be facing an 11-14-2 Edmonton team that features Brandon Manning's old pal, Connor McDavid, who leads the Oilers in goals (11), assists (21), and points (32).
In the Flyers' 2-1 win over Edmonton on Oct. 21, McDavid was held pointless.
"We just need to make sure he doesn't build much speed, because we know when he's going with all that speed, he's kind of dangerous," said rookie defenseman Robert Hagg, who had five hits in the victory over the Oilers. "You try to stay close to him and shut him down. I think we did a pretty good job at home against him."
Coach Dave Hakstol said he doesn't think any team has found "the exact formula" to contain McDavid. "We're on the road, so it won't be about specific matchups," he said. "You have to be very aware [of him] and try to play on your toes. If you start backing off and giving time and space, he can make an awful lot of things happen."
The Flyers are at the bottom of the Metropolitan standings and are eight points out of a wild-card spot.
"We've got some ground to make up to scratch and claw back into it," Hakstol said. "We can't let many more points slip away; that's the reality for our hockey team."
Oddly, the Flyers and Oilers both have better records on the road than at home. The Flyers will take a 5-5-3 road record into the game, while Edmonton is just 5-8 at home.
Elliott stopped 23 of 24 shots and Wayne Simmonds scored the deciding goal with 2:15 left in the Flyers' win over Edmonton earlier this season. … The Flyers are last in the league in winning percentage (15.4) in one-goal games, taking just two of 13 (2-4-7). … Weise said Hamonic deserved his match penalty. "I think it was a pretty dirty play," he said, adding that if it was Radko Gudas who delivered the hit, he would have been suspended for 15 games. … Edmonton, whose 3.33 goals-against average is near the bottom of the NHL, has the league's worst penalty kill (72.2 percent success rate), while the Flyers are 27th (76.3 percent).