The Philadelphia Flyers will try to avoid a four-game losing streak when they host the red-hot Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday.
The Flyers opened their four-game road trip with a 3-2 overtime win against the Seattle Kraken. What followed was an overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks, a 6-3 loss to the Los Angeles Kings and a 4-1 defeat to the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday.
Philadelphia lost to the Ducks without captain Claude Giroux and Ivan Provorov, both in the league’s health and safety protocol.
“Those are quality players, but you have to adjust,” Flyers interim head coach Mike Yeo said. “We had a number of opportunities, just missed the side of the net. We tried to be aggressive and didn’t get goals.”
Travis Konecny and Travis Sanheim have since been added to the COVID list.
The Flyers suffered through a 10-game losing streak earlier this season, which led to head coach Alain Vigneault being fired. Slowly, they have worked their way back into playoff contention before this difficult road trip.
“Unfortunately, we’re in a position where we’re chasing everybody, and it’s really difficult to sit here and say, ‘Oh, we did this well,’ or ‘We did that well,'” Yeo said. “Bottom line is we need to grind some points out. We got to stay with the pack here.”
One positive from the road trip was the improved play of Joel Farabee. He has eight points in his last nine games, including goals against the Sharks and Kings.
“He stepped up big for us this road trip,” Cam Atkinson said. “He was able to make plays every single time he’s on the ice and had some great looks and scored some big goals for us over this road trip.”
The Penguins will be searching for their 10th consecutive victory.
The Penguins rallied for three goals in the third period to defeat the St. Louis Blues 5-3 on Wednesday.
Pittsburgh’s last loss came all the way back on Dec. 1 when it fell 5-2 to the Edmonton Oilers.
Bryan Rust scored two goals while Brock McGinn, Sidney Crosby and Evan Rodrigues added one goal apiece against the Blues. Crosby and Rodrigues connected 12 seconds apart in the third period to help key the victory.
The nine straight wins is the longest for the franchise since a 15-game streak in March of 2013.
“The chemistry on this team is awesome,” Rust said. “We’ve got a really good group. Guys are meshing well. We’ve got unbelievable leadership. Everyone fits in nicely and knows their role on and off the ice.
“We have a whole lot of fun together, and I think that goes a long way.”
The Penguins still won on a night when goaltender Casey DeSmith was pulled after allowing the third goal. Tristan Jarry made all 13 saves after replacing DeSmith.
“I didn’t think Case was tracking it as well as he has been, so I just felt it was the right thing to do at the time for the team,” Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said. “That’s why we decided to make the change. It doesn’t diminish how we feel about Casey.”
Jeff Carter skated with the Penguins for the first time on Wednesday morning since coming back from the league’s health and safety protocol, but he didn’t play in the game.
–Field Level Media