The Philadelphia Flyers will need to use their excellent home form as a catalyst to being more consistent on the road.
Nine straight home wins in a row has helped the Flyers into the third playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division. In order to stay there they will have to be more consistent on the road, starting with Edmonton tonight.
Craig Berube understands the importance of the Flyers finding some consistency on the road. From NHL.COM;
“On the road we tend to not fall asleep but not push the issue enough at certain times,”
“And we end up letting our guard down a bit.”
“We need to be a .500-or-better team on the road,”
If we take a look at the six games the Flyers will play on this road trip they need to win three from six to meet Berube’s minimum expectation for the team.
Personally out of the six games Edmonton, Calgary and New Jersey seem the three to target, with Vancouver, Colorado and Phoenix also to play. I believe all six games are winnable and although it would be a big ask to win all six, the Flyers should win at least three.
No games will be easy and the Flyers need to find a way to make them hard to beat outside of the Wells Fargo. Edmonton have won their last two games against Winnipeg and Calgary, snapping a six game loosing streak.
If they can take the home form to the road then the Flyers can help establish themselves in a playoff spot.
What the fans would like to see is their team turn up for all three periods each game. A lack of concentration or effort on the road is not good enough to get you into the playoffs. Let’s hope that the Flyers have come to understand that too!
Flyers need to up the intensity for the regular season
The New Jersey Devils scored 3 goals in the second to finish off the Flyers in a 4-1 victory at the Prudential Center.
Matt Read’s shorthanded goal in the 3rd was the only thing that stopped a shutout in goal after Cory Schneider had departed, replaced by Keith Kinkaid.
The Flyers played a fairly young team giving them the opportunity to shine. Unfortunately that backfired against a strong New Jersey team who seem to find a way to beat the Flyers each time they play.
With the regular season starting soon Philly will have to pick themselves up and look to get to the dirty areas and compete. The Devils outworked as well as outclassed the Flyers last night which is a familiar tale from matches gone by.
Henrique shows value
The New Jersey Devils yesterday announced that they had re-signed Adam Henrique on a six year contract at $24 million according to NHL.com
Terms of the deal were not disclosed by the team, but media reports indicate it’s for six years and $24 million.
Henrique, 23, scored 11 goals in 42 games last season.
“It was an exciting day,” Henrique told The (Bergen) Record’s Tom Gulitti. “My family and I are excited about it. It’s something you’ve been working for for a long time. I’m extremely happy with what the deal is and how things are looking going forward.”
Henrique is a player who has seen his development continue while playing an important role in the Devils current playoff success.
At 23 if he continues to develop at his current rate this contract will be a great investment in the future. It is always risky signing young players to substantial period of time to justify the cap. I think the Devils will look back in a few years and talk about a great bit of business by taking that risk on Henrique.
Last night saw IIya Kovalchuck announce his retirement from the NHL, kissing goodbye the remaining 12 year $77 million contract. This now paves the way for a return to the KHL, leaving the Devils to clean up the mess.
The move clears up over $6 million in cap space meaning the Devils can be more active with free agency but Kovalchuck has left them having to pay $250,000 – $300,000 a year in cap-benefit recapture fees for each of the 12 years remaining on his contract.
The Devils did release a statement on the departure of Kovalchuck.
”This decision was something I have thought about for a long time going back to the lockout and spending the year in Russia.” Kovalchuk said “Though I decided to return this past season, the GM Lou was aware of my desire to go back home and have my family there with me. The most difficult thing for me is to leave the New Jersey Devils a great organization that I have a lot of respect for, and our fans that have been great to me.”
I am sure most NHL fans have their opinion on Kovalchuck. Some called him “Kovalchoke” and others screamed from the roof tops saying he is far better than he actually is (a bit like another NHL star we all know Sidney…)
But the truth of it is Kovalchuck posted some fantastic numbers during his 11 seasons in the NHL, including a season where the Devils took a run all the way to the final. Kovalchuck posted 19 points in 23 post season games, proving that he was a great player and one of the few that had his own individual class.
Kovalchuck’s 11 seasons in the NHL were marked with an overall 816 points in 816 games, the definition of a point per game player!
The Devils are going to miss him; although adding Ryan Clowe and Michael Ryder will help this will not compensate for the loss of Kovalchuck. This is especially true with the Devils also losing David Clarkson to the Leafs.
So although this is not a piece of tribute writing it is a goodbye to a great player that I will miss seeing in the NHL (especially on the PP).