Oilers aim for quick start against Flyers
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Winning games despite falling behind is a positive trait. Hockey history is filled with teams that have the confidence they can come from behind for victories.
The Edmonton Oilers were perfect examples of that in recent weeks, setting an NHL record by netting five straight come-from-behind victories to start the season.
As the Oilers head into a Wednesday home clash against the road-weary Philadelphia Flyers, it's with the reminder teams eventually pay the price when always playing from behind. The Oilers were given that lesson in their last outing, a 3-1 defeat at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday that ended Edmonton's four-game road swing.
"It's tough to win games when you give them the first goal all the time," Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom told NHL.com. "We knew it was a matter of time. We have to be ready when the puck drops, and it's something we've got to improve.
"It's still early. We all were very happy with 5-0, but it's not good enough to give up the first goal all the time. We've got to find a way to be ready right off the bat."
Despite the loss at Chicago, the Oilers emerged with three wins on their four-game road trip. Now they have a quick two-game homestand, with the Flyers game followed by a visit from the Detroit Red Wings on Friday.
"We can't dwell on this, we know we need to be better," Edmonton defenseman Darnell Nurse told Postmedia. "If you're going home after a 3-1 road trip, you have to be happy with it. You have to take the positives. There are things we need to work on, but we move on to the next game. The mistakes we made, we did to ourselves, and we know we can clean those up."
The Flyers have plenty to clean up right now, even if they're about to finish a busy, travel-heavy start to the season. Philadelphia arrives in Edmonton after a 3-1 road loss to the Calgary Flames on Tuesday. The Flyers have dropped two straight contests in which they scored only three total goals.
The Flyers lost in a shootout in Vancouver on Saturday to kick off a three-game Western Canada trip after opening the season with wins over Chicago (in Prague) and at home over the New Jersey Devils.
While fatigue may be a factor, there wasn't much positive in the Calgary loss. The Flyers surrendered a goal in the first two minutes, generated a few chances when it was a close game, but then were outplayed in the second and third periods.
"Definitely did not play the way we wanted to, and we're going to have an opportunity to jump back (Wednesday) and do a better job," Philadelphia coach Alain Vigneault said. "We didn't execute. You have to make plays in this game. You have to make plays that are in front of you. We didn't do that."
Flyers defenseman Matt Niskanen said, "We don't have to chew on this one very long. That's good. That's the good thing about back-to-backs. Nobody likes them, but if you lose that first one, you get to go after it again the next night. You don't have to think about it too long."
After Flyers goalie Brian Elliott faced the Flames (and stopped 35 of the 37 shots he faced), Carter Hart likely will between the pipes in Edmonton. Hart started Philadelphia's first three games of the season, going 2-0-1 with a 1.62 goals-against average.
--Field Level Media
Updated October 16, 2019