Chris Pronger isn’t one to church things up.
Especially when he isn’t happy.
Just ask anyone who knows him. After the Philadelphia Flyers(41-19-6) win over the Edmonton Oilers(23-35-8) Tuesday the defensemen didn’t hold back his frustration.
“I think there’s winning and then there’s winning in spite of how you play.”
After jumping out to an early 2-0 lead in the first period the team went stagnet the rest of the way allowing 13 turnovers.
“The wheels fell off and we started turning the puck over and stopped moving our feet,” says Pronger. “If you turn the puck over like that the other team is going to gain a lot of momentum.”
The Flyers lost four straight heading into Tuesdays game but Pronger didn’t see the victory as baby steps in the right direction.
“Baby steps in what way, how we played one period?”
The Flyers were however able to hold an opponent scoreless in the third period for the first time in ten games. The team has struggled all year with goals allowed in the period giving up 73 third period goals while scoring 74.
Perhaps the team is sitting back after out scoring opponents 80-54 in the second.
With just 16 games remaining in the regular season, the Flyers are still the best team in the Eastern Conference- points wise.
But Pronger has been voicing his concern with the numbers even before the current slide.
“It’s not the way we are built to play. We are built to get better with every period and take over in the third period and dominate like we have in the past. Lately, it seems like that has been our Achilles heel.”
After blowing a 2-0 lead against Toronto on March 3 in the midst of a five game streak of giving up the lead in the third, Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette began showing his frustration as well.
“When you lose the third like that; we aren’t happy about it. We aren’t happy about it and they aren’t happy about it. The fans aren’t happy with it. The organization’s not happy with it. It is unacceptable.”
The intensity of the team as a whole has been in question for some time now. Big leads don’t seem big enough anymore as the Flyers begin to face teams desperate to make the playoffs.
The Flyers should know, it’s exactly where they were last season.
“We need to work on things and that it what we are battling right now. We need to stick to the work and the work ethic. We need to push.” Laviolette points out. “I said from the start, the month of March is going to be a month where we need to push in practice and in games. The only way to turn things is to keep on pushing.”
The intensity of the playoffs is nothing new for Philadelphia but they need to all get on the same page and quick if they expect to have another Stanley Cup Championship run.
“There’s been a lot of talk and sometimes talk is cheap,” admits Pronger. “We still have a lot of work to do and we need to sharpen up.”