NEW YORK – The trip out West that the Flyers are about to embark on came a little later in the schedule last season.

When they went to California in January, they were third in the division with 58 points. They were an above-.500 team at 26-22-3 so they weren’t quite in the dire straits they are these days even though they had lost seven of 10 at the time and were looking to right the ship.

Victories against the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks sparked a streak of seven victories in eight contests.

This time around, the trip comes 24 games into the campaign with the Flyers having lost eight of nine games and sitting five points from the basement of the Metropolitan Divison.

If the Flyers can recreate the California magic this time, they just might save their season.

“It’s gonna be the most important trip of the season,” said right wing Jake Voracek, who is one point shy of Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby in the NHL points race. “Last year we went on the road and that was one of the reasons why we made the playoffs. We were successful on that roadtrip. I don’t see the reason why we shouldn’t do it again.”

First up is the San Jose Sharks, who are just 3-4-2 at home this season. There are rumblings that coach Todd McLellan is on the hot seat with his underperforming Sharks recently breaking a four-game losing streak.

That might be the Flyers’ best shot on the roadtrip that, after California, extends to Columbus, where the Blue Jackets are getting healthier.

“It never gets easy,” alternate captain Wayne Simmonds reminded. “No matter where you go. It’s never a bad time to have that trip. We’re hockey players. You never know when your last game is going to be in this league. We got to make sure we’re having fun. Obviously, losing is not having fun. We have to turn things around and keep it positive.”

The Flyers can have a positive attitude all they want. That’s not why they’ve lost eight of their last nine games. Being on the road, which the old adage says is where players’ heads are clearer, may play a role, though.

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