This is the 10th season since the NHL reverted to its current overtime format.
In that time-frame, just one team (the Carolina Hurricanes with 26) has won less shootout games than the Philadelphia Flyers.
Philly has won just 27 shootouts in 10 seasons, and despite changes in personnel, philosophy and players throughout those 10 years, nothing seems to change on the ice.
The first year the shootout was implemented, 2005-06, the Flyers won four of 10. Last season they won three of 11. The team has never won more than four shootouts in a season, and won just one of seven in 2006-07.
Following a 4-3 loss to the Anaheim Ducks Tuesday, their second shootout loss of the season, there were few answers.
“I don’t know,” Flyers head coach Craig Berube said when asked why his team can’t win a shootout. “Lots of teams aren’t good at them, some teams are good at them.”
Claude Giroux, the Flyers’ captain, was the only man in Orange and Black to net a goal in the 2-1 shootout loss to the Ducks. And though his majestic back-hand flip kept the Flyers’ alive, the loss in the extra frame provided the 0-2-2 Flyers just one point.
“They’re big points,” Giroux said. “Maybe they don’t look like it right now, but the end of the season those two points are going to be crucial probably. We just have to make sure next time we get it done.”
The Flyers have no trouble scoring goals during regular play. In fact, they excel on the power play as one of the top special teams’ clubs in the NHL.Last season the Flyers had seven men score 20 or more goals. There is no lack of skill on the roster. But for some reason it doesn’t translate to a shootout scenario. Why?
“That’s a good question. I have no idea,” Jakub Voracek, whose attempt at the five-hole beneath Ducks’ goalie Frederik Anderson was stopped in Tuesday’s shootout.
Wayne Simmonds, who leads the Flyers with five goals in four games, says the team practices the shootout nearly every day in practice. But Voracek says it’s not the same thing.
“In a game it’s completely different,” Voracek said. “You are under pressure. It’s a different situation. Different goalies. I don’t know. We are obviously losing a lot of points in those situations in shootouts. And we just have to hope that we are going to work, work, work on it and get it better.”
It is wholly ironic then, that although the Flyers are as futile as a team can get when it comes to the shootout, it was a shootout win over the New York Rangers on the last day of the 2010 regular season that set the course for a run to the Stanley Cup.
The talent is there. Now the Flyers have to get it together and buck the trend.