Flyers-Flames Preview

Perhaps a simpler approach to the game will help the Philadelphia Flyers end their current slide.

Looking to avoid a sixth consecutive defeat, the visiting Flyers hope to make things easy on themselves Thursday night against a Calgary Flames club that's struggled throughout the first month of the season.

After winning four of five, Philadelphia (4-6-2) has gone winless and totaled five goals while losing the last four in regulation. The Flyers failed to hold a 2-1 advantage Tuesday by yielding three third-period goals in a 4-2 loss at Edmonton.

''Any time you lose five in a row, you are pretty frustrated,'' said Flyers forward Ryan White, who scored his first of the season. ''We are trying out there. Sometimes I think we are trying a little too hard."

White believes the solution to Philadelphia's current problems might not involve too much thinking.

"We just need to calm down and play," he said. "Right now we want it, but we just aren't doing the right things to make it happen. We need to step back and regroup and get back to the basics.''

Philadelphia can start by fixing a power play that's among the worst in the league, converting 11.1 percent of its chances - including 0 for 14 in the last six contests. Flyers opponents, meanwhile, are making good on 28.0 percent (7 for 25) of their opportunities with the man advantage over the last seven.

"We are just not a confident group right now," White told the NHL's official website. "When this team is confident, we are winning battles and making good plays with it from there. Right now, we are winning battles and almost giving it right back to them.

"It's tough when you are not winning. You get a bit fragile. We need to calm down and get back to playing hockey."

The Flames (3-9-1) haven't been able to carry over the confidence they enjoyed while reaching the playoffs for the first time in six years. Saddled with some lofty expectations, Calgary is allowing a league-high 4.23 goals per game compared to 2.60 last season.

"It's all about reading the game," coach Bob Hartley said. "You have to read the game and you have to compete on every shift."

Following Tuesday's 6-3 loss at Colorado, Calgary has given up 28 non-shootout goals while dropping five of the last six. Karri Ramo and Joni Ortio have combined to allow 15 goals in the last three games while starter Jonas Hiller remains sidelined after suffering a lower-body injury in last Wednesday's 5-4 shootout loss at Ottawa.

Though Hiller was expected to be out a week, his status for this contest remains uncertain.

"It's frustrating," rookie forward Sam Bennett said. "You've got to keep battling through it."

Bennett has been one of the few recent bright spots for the Flames, recording two goals and four assists in the last four games after totaling one point in his first eight.

Claude Giroux has two points in the last six games for the Flyers but one in each of his last three against the Flames.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.