Ever since Radko Gudas started serving his 10-game suspension, the Flyers' defense has fallen apart.
Entering Tuesday, the Flyers had allowed a total of 24 goals in the five games Gudas had missed. They had surrendered five goals in four of those games, and four goals in the other.
"Obviously, Radko is a big part of our team and he brings a certain element, especially at certain times of the game [when] he is really valuable," coach Dave Hakstol said before the Flyers faced San Jose on Tuesday. "We miss him in the lineup, but at the same time, having players out of the lineup for various reasons is part of the league, part of the game. That's just something we have to overcome."
In the Flyers' 5-4 overtime loss Monday in Pittsburgh, the Penguins scored three goals from the doorstep, an area where the burly Gudas usually clears bodies.
"You have to be careful how you ask for that physicality," Hakstol said when asked if the Flyers' defense needed to be more aggressive in front of the net. "For me, the one area I'd like to see a lot more heaviness is down low below our goal line. Some of the plays at the net front are a result of battles of pucks that have come from below our goal line. … Your first opportunity to squish that play with numbers is down below the goal line."
It was Hockey Fights Cancer Night at the Wells Fargo Center. The ceremonial puck drop was made by Madeline Swenson, a Warminster resident who is battling leukemia. She celebrated her 10th birthday Tuesday.