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Flyers miss Radko Gudas' physical play

Without the rugged player, the Flyers' defense has struggled mightily. Gudas served the sixth game of his 10-game suspension Tuesday.

The Flyers were allowing nearly five goals per game in the five contests Radko Gudas (right) had missed entering Tuesday.
The Flyers were allowing nearly five goals per game in the five contests Radko Gudas (right) had missed entering Tuesday.Read moreTOM MIHALEK

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."

Cancer awareness

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.


Goalie Michal Neuvirth made just his second start in the last 10 games. … Brian Elliott, who has played well but has lost his last seven starts, needs three wins to reach the 200 mark in his career. Elliott made a career-high 47 saves in Monday's loss in Pittsburgh. … Defensive mistakes by veterans, including right winger Jake Voracek, have hindered the Flyers recently. "We have to own that and clean it up," Hakstol said. … Entering the night, the Flyers were 1-7 in games decided by a shootout (0-2) or in overtime (1-5). … The Flyers began Tuesday having allowed 10 power play goals over their last six games, killing off just 18 of 28 penalties (64.3 percent) during that span.