This seems to be a good chance for the Philadelphia Flyers to break out of their slump. The league’s worst team is coming to town.
The Flyers try to avoid matching their longest winless streak of the season as they take on the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Philadelphia has a three-point lead over second-place New Jersey in the Atlantic Division despite winning just three times in its last 16 games (3-5-4-4). That stretch includes the current 0-2-1-1 skid, during which the team has been held to one goal or fewer three times.
The Flyers, who also went winless in five straight from Dec. 10-18, are coming off Saturday’s 3-0 home loss to Edmonton.
“It’s very frustrating to the coaching staff when you need people to pay the price,” coach Ken Hitchcock said. “Some guys are just quite frankly not doing it and that is disappointing.”
The good news for Hitchcock is that his team now hosts the Penguins, whose 28 points are the fewest in the NHL.
Pittsburgh is 0-7-1 in its last eight trips to Philadelphia, including a 5-2 loss on Dec. 3. The Penguins have gone 1-20-1 in their last 22 visits.
Like the Flyers, the Penguins are looking to bounce back from a shutout loss, but a much uglier one. They were blanked 8-0 at home by Montreal on Saturday, falling to 2-9-1-1 in their last 13 games.
“I’m not going to say what I said (to the team),” Pens coach Ed Olczyk said. “I very rarely refer to when I was a player, but I had a couple of games like this. It hurts. You think about why it happens and (start) questioning yourself and doubting yourself.”
Olczyk’s club gave up four power-play goals in that defeat and own the league’s second-worst penalty-killing unit.
That bodes well for a Philadelphia team which is second in the league with the man advantage, but has gone 1-for-16 on the power play in five games this month. The Flyers have three power-play goals in three meetings with the Pens this season.