If anything positive has come out of a poor stretch of road games for the Philadelphia Flyers, it might be the strong goaltending that was often absent in the early portion of their schedule.
Among the worst teams in the league away from home, Philadelphia will try to snap a five-game road skid Wednesday night against the Detroit Red Wings.
After Monday’s 1-0 shootout loss to the New York Islanders, the Flyers (8-9-3) have dropped five of six overall and been shut out in back-to-back road contests.
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Steve Mason made 46 saves in a shutout of his own, giving him a 1.32 goals-against average in his last three games, but frustration from the overall effort was his focus after the game.
"We have to find a way to be better as a team," Mason told the team’s official website. "Just forget about it. It (stinks) to not be able to get the win and get the extra point, but we’ve got a big game against another conference rival. We have to make sure we put this behind us and get ready and refocused."
Mason is 0-4-1 on the road, though he’s posted 1.35 goals-against average in three opposing buildings this month. He’s won his last three starts against Detroit with a 1.67 GAA.
The Flyers are averaging 3.45 goals at home, but have scored seven during the road slide. They’re 3 for 31 on the power play in opposing arenas for the season.
"We want to and have to play better," forward Wayne Simmonds said.
Detroit has been successful on the power play just about everywhere, going 12 of 40 (30.0 percent) in the last nine games.
The Red Wings (11-5-5) went 2 for 6 with the man advantage in Monday’s 4-3 home win over Ottawa. Stephen Weiss scored both even-strength goals in his second game of the season and first since Oct. 18.
Weiss managed two goals in 26 games a season ago, his first in Detroit, before hernia surgery sidelined him. He had recorded three consecutive seasons of least 20 goals before injuries limited him to 43 games over the previous two seasons.
"We don’t give (ice time) away for free; he’s got to earn what he gets and I thought he took a huge step," said coach Mike Babcock, whose club is 7-2-2 at home. "Lots of guys can play lots of games and be in lots of spots and never get it, and he’s capable.
"Hopefully he can get his confidence back and get going."
Pavel Datsyuk missed his fourth straight game with a sore groin, while defenseman Brendan Smith was out with a hand injury. But the Red Wings announced Wednesday that Datsyuk would return against Philadelphia, a boost that looks even more significant when considering he has seven goals and five assists in seven games against the Flyers.
Philadelphia is also dealing with the top-line absence of Michael Raffl, who scored twice in the first meeting of the season with Detroit and is expected to remain out Wednesday.
The Flyers beat the Red Wings 4-2 in Philadelphia on Oct. 25 for their third straight win in the series. Philadelphia has scored 15 goals in that span.
In goal, Detroit will deploy Jimmy Howard. He didn’t face the Flyers last month and is 1-2-0 with a 3.78 GAA in three career matchups.