TORONTO - Never mind every non-playoff team in the NHL vowing all summer they want to be like last season’s Philadelphia Flyers.
How about getting this year’s Flyers playing more like last year’s Flyers?
It’s six games into the new campaign and 2010’s best playoff story are looking a lot like the team that coughed and sputtered through much of ‘09-10, turning it on right at the end and qualifying in a Game 82 shootout. They’re at 2-3-1, with Saturday’s match against the Maple Leafs their fifth in a row at home, yet they’ve dropped the past three.
“We shouldn’t have a hangover from last year,” centre Danny Briere told the Toronto Sun in a phone interview on Friday. “We should be even hungrier to get back there and want to go all the way.
“For some reason, we thrive when the pressure is on us (no better example than being down 3-0 to the Bruins in their second-round series). But if we could do it (easier) we would.
“I thought last night’s game (a 3-2 loss to Anaheim) wasn’t as bad, because we had a lot of chances and a lot of shots. The other two games, it’s like we stopped playing.”
Some lineup changes are anticipated for coach Peter Laviolette, who has let Toronto-area native and agitator Daniel Carcillo stew in the press box the past two games. Mike Richards is in a six-game goal slump and been evicted from the top power-play unit.
“Everybody’s a good test for us,” Toronto coach Ron Wilson said. “We played the Flyers in pre-season, but not with 100% of their guys. They dominated Anaheim last night, out-shot them 2-1, but found a way to lose. They’ve lost a few games and they’ll be ready.”