Craig Berube’s had a subtle play he’s been working on for a few weeks now to get his defensemen more involved. When it doesn’t work, the Flyers pay for it dearly. When it does work, like it did Monday against the Wild, the team can double down on offensive opportunities. That’s what happened against Minnesota in a 4-1 win before the team breaks three days for Christmas. It was only 1:52 into the win that the play was successful. The Flyers had possession deep in the Minnesota end and Luke Schenn decided to pinch in because he saw Wayne Simmonds playing up high near the point. Schenn took a chance and went in after the puck. Scott Hartnell found him with a pass and the Flyers took the lead. “Us defenseman, we have the green light to jump up into the play when the time is right,” Schenn said after his third goal of the year. “I think every defenseman makes a conscious effort. We are always trying to shoot the puck and it’s nice that one finally goes in and pays off.” In games past, like both contests last week against Columbus, the Flyers were taking that risk and the end result was usually a puck in their net. There were quite a few odd-man rushes in those games, but not Monday. Steve Mason looked calm and collected in making 26 saves because he saw the puck well and didn’t have to deal with breakaways. “Any time you get a defenseman caught or a forward caught and a team has that kind of opportunity, they’re either gonna score on it or you’ve got to come up with a big defensive play or a big stop,” Mason said. “Tonight we did a good job of taking away those opportunities.” In Flyer-talk, the play happens when they have their third forechecker — they call him the “F3” — up high in the zone and defenseman realize it as an opportunity. Although only one goal came from a defenseman tonight, the Flyers had nine shots come from blueliners. They’ve had defensemen score in nine of their last 10 games.
Flyers go Wild at home
Courier-Post | Dec 24