Originally written on Fightin For Philly  |  Last updated 11/19/14

The Philadelphia Flyers begin a three game road trip tonight with a game in Ottawa, followed by a game in Pittsburgh tomorrow night.  The trip concludes Friday back in Canada against the Winnipeg Jets.  Hopefully the Flyers can grab at least 4 points off this trip. There have been a lot of factors that have led to the Flyers’ inconsistent start.  One of the main reasons is a lack of scoring.  They are averaging 1.6 goals a game, and that’s including the 4 goal outburst against Edmonton on Saturday.  Poor play in the third period has also been a big problem this season as well as last year. If the Flyers are to turn to this season around as captain Claude Giroux says they will and make the playoffs some trends are going to have to start to change.  Even though the play of the Flyers in third period seems to directly affect the outcome, it is really the first period that makes the difference. The biggest trend the Flyers will need to change if they want to make the playoffs is scoring the first goal, and leading after the first period.  They are 0-7 this season when the opponent scores first, but are 5-3-1 when they score first themselves.  Scoring the first goal is huge, it gives you the momentum, and the opponent knows they have to score twice to win the game. The Flyers are the only team in the NHL that has not come back to win a game this season after allowing the first goal. The first goal might not always be scored in the first period, like last week against Carolina.  The game against the Hurricanes was one of the games they have lost when they scored first.  The Flyers scored in the third, and then gave up the tying goal in the last minute, before losing in overtime. After the first period tonight you will have a good idea if you need to watch the final two periods.  Philadelphia is 0-6 when trailing after the first period, and when you add in the games they are tied after one period, they are a dismal 1-8-1.  When the Flyers are leading after one period the record gets way better as they are 4-2. So for all the talk of play in the third and final period it is really the first period that has decided the outcome of many Flyers games this season.  The one stat that seems to be going against this trend is the fact that the Flyers have outscored the opposition 13-9 in the first period, yet have only lead after the first period in 6 of 16 games this season. The score at the end of the first period tonight could go a very long way in determining the success of this trip. Slap shots Steve Downie looks like he will make his return tonight in the place of Michael Raffl.  Steve Mason looks to get the start in goal he is 4-7-1 with a 2.34 GAA.  Mason made 43 saves last season in a 2-1 Philly victory on April 27th in Ottawa. The Flyers are 14-7-6-2 all time in Ottawa.

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