By Sam Bush
Newbie Flyers coach Dave Hakstol (above) is learning how difficult it is to make the transition from coaching kids at the University of North Dakota to alleged pros in the National Hockey League.
His Flyers lost 4-1 in Vancouver Monday night — their fourth straight defeat, and third game in a row with just a single goal of offense.
“We’re gonna stay with it,” Hakstol said following the defeat. “This group’s gonna stay. But we’re not happy. These aren’t easy times, but the group will stay together and keep working hard.”
With just 21 goals through 11 games, Philly now owns the NHL’s second-worst offense. Only Anaheim has scored less. It’s a notable decline from a Flyers team that scored 2.59 goals per season last year and had two of the NHL’s best scorers in Jakub Voracek (81 points) and Claude Giroux (73).
What a difference a season makes.
Voracek’s been mired in a slump all year long — he’s still without a goal — while Giroux hasn’t been his usual productive self, last night’s goal notwithstanding.
Yet to hear Giroux explain it, the Flyers are playing well enough and producing enough chances — even if the end result doesn’t show it.
“We generated a lot of offense,” Giroux said. “We played the way we wanted to play. Obviously we have a lot of things to work on, but the score doesn’t show how much better we played.”
The captain’s comments might raise some eyebrows, especially given how stagnant the offense has looked.
But if there’s a silver lining for Philly, it’s that both Giroux and Hackstol are finding positives in a sea of negativity.
Or maybe they’re fishing for them?
“You guys might not see it from the outside,” Hackstol said. “But I see a lot of things in our end in terms of playing the rush, breaking pucks out.
“A lot of things that we’re doing better.”