Flyers hoping to “rise up to the challenge” to end latest losing run

Most NHL teams will go through a rough patch during a regular season, but it’s very rarely you see one go through two in the same season. The Philadelphia Flyers are one of those teams looking to turn things around to snap what is a current second 10-game losing streak of the 2021-22 campaign.

A 2-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center, continued another dismal stretch for the Orange and Black and kept them further away from the top four in the Metropolitan Division. Mike Yeo’s squad are doing anything they can to stop the bleeding this winter and the veteran coach didn’t sugarcoat the frustration that him and his players are going through.

“I think that it’s [frustration] probably the highest that I’ve seen to be honest with you at any point,” Yeo said. “Obviously we’re here, our job is to win and we’re not winning. And so there’s a number of players that take that very personally, so I can see the frustration. It’s crucial that as a staff we can go two ways, we can try to beat them down and get mad at them, I think when you’re doing that you’re sort of trying to motivate them, I don’t think that motivation is an issue right now.

“Obviously our execution wasn’t too sharp tonight, we didn’t have that, didn’t see any lack of desire, lack of drive, certainly didn’t sense any of that on the bench,” Yeo added. “I think that the other way that we can go right now is just do everything we can to continue to motivate the guys and continue to come to the rink with a great attitude. We’re being challenged and so we have to rise up to that challenge and we have to find a way to be better and we have to find a way to overcome it.”

Things aren’t clicking for the Flyers on either side of the ice, making things twice as hard to turn things around. The Flyers rank in the top six for the fewest goals scored this season (99) and rank among the top five worst for the most goals allowed (135). Even with star players returning to the ice in recent weeks, the Flyers haven’t been able to deliver a strong 60-minutes of hockey at all in the past few months.

The Flyers have been outscored 37-19 during their losing run, failing to register more than three goals scored in a single game during their losing streak. Cam Atkinson and Travis Konecny have started to deliver more in recent games, but the team needs to come together as a whole to truly avoid one of the worst seasons of recent memory in franchise history.

“You have to believe,” Atkinson said. “Everyone has us written off. The only guys that are going to get out of it are the guys in the locker room. We have to stick together and hold each other accountable. At the end of the day it’s going to be the guys in the room that dig ourselves out of this mess. We get on the road tomorrow and have an early game there in Buffalo and we’ll have a good practice tomorrow. You have to stay positive. It’s easy during this time to point fingers and get negative and be selfish and start doing the wrong things on the ice. We have to stick together.”

The Flyers will continue their winter schedule on Saturday in a must-win game against the Buffalo Sabres. Luckily for the Flyers, Buffalo is even worse than they are right now, but not by much in the Eastern Conference. The Dallas Stars, New York Islanders, and Los Angeles Kings will also be on the schedule over the next week, giving Yeo and his players even more to worry about before a revamped February schedule begins.

Things might not be going right at all for the Flyers, but the team is trying to stay positive amid this horrendous run.

“[It’s] obviously frustrating, but like I said earlier you just got to find a way to stay positive,” goaltender Carter Hart said. “It can be tough, especially during a stretch like this, but you just got to find ways. Whether it’s supporting your teammates or looking at the little things, the details, small details of the game, guys sticking up for each other, Laughts [Scott Laughton] in the second period. There’s positives here that we can take out of the loss here tonight. Like I said we just have to keep moving forward here and stay positive.”

You can follow Larry Henry on Twitter (@lhenry019) and e-mail him at [email protected].

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