Flyers coach Dake Hakstol acknowledged a shakeup in the lineup might be on the way after his squad lost for the seventh time in eight games.
“We haven’t done much of that so far, but there’s a chance that we’ll make a change or two in terms of combinations, maybe even in terms of who’s in and who’s out of the lineup,” Hakstol said after Friday’s practice. “It’s too early to say that for sure right now, but we’re looking at a couple different things just to try to change a little bit of the rhythm, change a little bit of the chemistry.”
With only 10 games remaining and the Flyers’ once tight grip on a playoff spot suddenly in jeopardy, Hakstol may not want to wait too long to act.
The Flyers enter a pivotal weekend in third place in the Metropolitan Division, but several teams are nipping at their heels. Their 81 points are tied with the Blue Jackets, who are behind in the standings based on a tiebreaker, followed by the Devils with 80 and the Panthers’ 77.
Not only that, but the Blue Jackets and Panthers are hot, both winning eight of their last 10 contests. The Devils and Panthers also have one and three more games remaining, respectively.
Time is not on the Flyers’ side.
“We’re going to address some things individually as well as team-wise and get pushing in the right direction,” Hakstol said.
Despite their recent tumble in the standings, the Flyers aren’t panicking. Hakstol noted several of the losses have been close, though that’s largely only true of their last three defeats. They’ve played a tough schedule during the ongoing slump, a slate that included the Lightning, Penguins, Bruins, Jets and Golden Knights – all teams with better records.
Plus, the Flyers have been incredibly streaky all season long, a fact not lost on the team captain.
“We’ve been in this position before,” said Claude Giroux. “We got out of it pretty well. We just need to find a way to get out of it and stay on the winning track.”
Prior to their skid, the Flyers had a four-game losing streak sandwiched between a run where they won eight of nine and another where they won 10 of 11. There was also a 10-game winless stretch that spanned from mid-November into the first week of December.
Giroux thinks the Flyers will be fine as long as they continue doing the things that brought them to this point.
“Obviously, we have to be a little bit better in what we’re doing,” Giroux said. “But in talking about our system, I think we just keep doing what we’re doing and just work a little harder and we’ll be more successful.
Having been through cold spells before, it’s safe to say the Flyers won’t be thinking about it once the puck drops.
“Right now it’s about our guys making sure mentally the deck is clear from anything from last night or from the past week and just a real clear mindset on what our next opportunity is here,” Hakstol said.
The Flyers’ next opportunity to snap out of their funk is at the Hurricanes on Saturday.