Flyers must respond to unfamiliar territory

Flyers must respond to unfamiliar territory


You could see a game like this coming from a Carolina country mile.

After finding ways to overcome stretches of sluggish play to win games throughout the month of February, finishing with a 10-1-2 record, the Flyers (34-20-10) turned in a lackluster performance Thursday in a 4-1 loss to the Hurricanes at the Wells Fargo Center (see observations).

“Obviously that is not what you want to do especially this time of year,” Jakub Voracek said. “No loss is a good loss. It’s hard to say if you feel it coming. You feel winning, you don’t think about losing the game.”

“We didn’t have a lot of energy tonight, but there’s no excuse for that. That’s a fact,” head coach Dave Hakstol said. “I’ve said before, after some of the games that we’ve won, you have to take it for what it is.”

The opening five minutes of the first and second periods set the tone as Carolina played suffocating defense on the Flyers, who struggled to transition the puck out of their end and were responsible for bad turnovers. Brandon Manning and Andrew MacDonald combined for five of the team’s 10 giveaways.

“They sat on top of us pretty well. They didn’t give us a lot of time and space,” Hakstol said. “When you’re not doing things at full speed and real crisp and real sharp, it’s hard to make things happen and that was the case tonight.”

After bailing out the Flyers Monday in Montreal, Petr Mrazek didn’t have his best start, either. Carolina opened the scoring just as its power play expired. Former Flyer Justin Williams worked behind Manning and tapped in a rebound that Mrazek couldn’t control (see highlights).

“At the beginning of the game, I felt pretty good,” Mrazek said. “I made a couple of mistakes, a couple of rebounds that I should have had. I didn’t like the first goal, too. The puck got on the edge a little bit. It went to me and it gave them the momentum to be up 1-0 in our building.”

The Hurricanes were motivated by the return of their top center Jordan Staal. He and his wife Heather are recovering from the loss of their stillborn daughter. Staal's presence gave the entire Carolina team that emotional boost.

“That’s what you need,” head coach Bill Peters said. “You need your best players to be your best players and you miss them when he’s not here. I think it’s good for both us and him.”  

For the Flyers, it’s one loss that could be nothing more than running over a pothole on I-95, now with their eyes squarely focused on a two-game weekend road trip to Florida to face the Lightning and Panthers this weekend.

“We've got to make sure we give ourselves a boost out of this,” Hakstol said. "It’s a quick turnaround time. We have a short workday [Friday]. We get on the plane and head south. This team has handled reality very well, and that is what we will do again in this case.”

Full breakdown of Flyers' 2018-19 schedule

USA Today Images

Full breakdown of Flyers' 2018-19 schedule

The NHL released the 2018-19 82-game regular-season schedule for all 31 teams Thursday night as the Flyers will open up in Las Vegas Oct. 4 before continuing on to Colorado Oct. 6 and then hosting the San Jose Sharks Oct. 9.

The Flyers' entire schedule can be found here.

Month-by-month breakdown

• October —12 (six home, six away, one back-to-back)
• November — 12 (seven home, five away, one back-to-back)
• December — 14 (four home, 10 away, three back-to-backs)
• January —13 (seven home, six away, two back-to-backs)
• February —13 (nine home, four away, two back-to-backs)
• March — 15 (seven home, eight away, three back-to-backs)
• April — 3 (one home, two away, no back-to-backs)

The Flyers have just 12 games on back-to-back nights, which is typically on the low end of a team’s schedule — they’ve had at least 15 back-to-backs in each of the past three seasons. Last season, the Edmonton Oilers had the fewest back-to-backs with just nine. 


The Flyers have a pair of home-and-home dates on their schedule — Nov. 5-8 against the Arizona Coyotes and a true home-and-home with the Detroit Red Wings Feb. 16-17.

December road tripping

The Flyers have two separate five-game road trips within the month of December. Last season, the Flyers' longest road trip was four games to begin their 82-game schedule. From Dec. 8-15, the Flyers will hit all four time zones starting in Buffalo before wrapping up the trip in Vancouver.  

Much less travel over second half

The midway point of the Flyers' season comes after Jan. 5 at home against the Calgary Flames. Over their final 41 games, they will leave the Eastern time zone just three times in a span of four games (Feb. 12 at Minnesota, March 21 at Chicago, April 2-4 at Dallas and St. Louis).

Waiting for the champs

Alex Ovechkin and the Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals come to South Broad for the first time on March 6 and again eight days later on March 14 in their only two games at the Wells Fargo Center.

The rival Pittsburgh Penguins don’t come to Philadelphia until Feb. 11 and the Flyers will host them one final time just 12 days later when they face off at Lincoln Financial Field as part of the NHL’s Stadium Series.

November is easiest

The Flyers' easiest month comes in November with just 12 games over 30 days, including a five-game homestand from Nov. 8-17. Of their 12 opponents, only five made the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season.

A kind finish?

The Flyers close out the regular season with eight non-playoff contenders over their final 10 games, including their last five games.  

Other games of interest

• Friday after Thanksgiving — vs. New York Rangers at 1 p.m. 

• New Year's Day — at Nashville Predators at 8:30 p.m. 

Flyers' full 2018-19 schedule released

NBC Sports Philadelphia

Flyers' full 2018-19 schedule released

The Flyers’ full 2018-19 schedule is finally here.

We already knew the orange and the black would open their season in Vegas on Thursday, Oct. 4, with the home opener coming vs. the Sharks on Tuesday, Oct. 9, at the Wells Fargo Center (see story).

But there are some juicy new tidbits here, including the previously announced Stadium Series game vs. the Penguins at the Linc on Saturday, Feb. 23. Some dates to circle: 

• The Flyers' annual holiday road trip is from Dec. 23-Jan. 1. It features five games coming against the Rangers, Lightning, Panthers, Hurricanes and Predators.

• As we've seen with the Flyers, the final few games of the regular season tend to have massive importance. This year, the team has a pair of Western Conference road games against the Stars and Blues before the regular-season finale at home against the Hurricanes (see full breakdown).

• You always want to know when you can first get a taste of the Flyers-Penguins rivalry. The team's first game against Pittsburgh comes on the road Dec. 1. Flyers fans will have to wait until Feb. 11 for the Penguins to visit the Wells Fargo Center.

• The Flyers don't see the defending champions until Jan. 8 when they visit the Capitals. Washington doesn't come to the Wells Fargo Center until March 6.

• Looking for a lengthy stretch of home games? The Flyers' longest homestand is five games — there are two of them from Nov. 8-17 and Feb. 2-11.

Check out the full schedule here.