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New lines not a surprise for slumping Flyers

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Hakstol hopes the shake-up serves as a wake-up call for his players

Nashville Predators v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

VOORHEES, N.J. ― Something has to change with the Flyers.

After looking bulletproof during their 10-game winning streak, the Flyers have quickly lost any ground they had made up in the standings and surely watched the gap between them and the non-playoff position teams shrink thanks to a five-game slide.

In an effort to shuffle things up, second-year head coach Dave Hakstol opted to rearrange his forwards. After all was said and done during Friday’s practice, the lines wound up unfolding like this:

  1. Michael Raffl - Claude Giroux - Matt Read
  2. Travis Konecny - Sean Couturier - Jake Voracek
  3. Nick Cousins - Brayden Schenn - Wayne Simmonds
  4. Chris VandeVelde - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Boyd Gordon

A few of those lines could flip again if Hakstol decides to throw Roman Lyubimov or Dale Weise in the lineup prior to Saturday’s game with Tampa Bay.

The always straightforward Wayne Simmonds wasn’t surprised with the decision.

“We’re not scoring goals, something has to change,” Simmonds said. “We’ve just got to find a way to pull it back, obviously we’re not happy with what we’re doing… it’s up to us to go out there and win this game.”

Hakstol added that he felt this was a “good time to make a couple changes,” seeing that his team is desperately in need of a win. The Flyers haven’t won in regulation since December 14.

Yet, it’s not all doom-and-gloom around the clubhouse. Having gone on that historical run of theirs did buy them some time to right the ship as they continue to hold on to the final wild card spot; however, time is starting to slip by them.

“The panic button hasn’t been hit yet, but it’s coming up here.” said Matt Read. “Losing five in a row isn’t where we want to be at right now, I think we have a lot better of a performance to give… we’re still in a good spot, we have to play a lot better right now and start finding our game.”

The Flyers will face a Lightning team on Saturday that is nipping at their heels in the standings, separated by just three points. A four-point game like this could be just what this team needs.

At least that’s what Simmonds believes.

“It’s usually when we play our best when there’s some pressure behind it,” Simmonds explained. “We’ve gotta get some urgency in our game, some pep in our step.”