Since Flyers management already pulled the coaching change card three games into the season, the players figured there would be another move eventually.

Even though Max Talbot was the least of the team’s problems, he was shipped to Colorado for Steve Downie, a guy GM Paul Holmgren said would “stir the pot” for the reeling Flyers.

“I think anytime you struggle there’s gonna be some sort of change,” veteran Scott Hartnell said. “The coaching change was obviously a big change, but we’ve been playing better and better.”

Still not good enough, though. The team knows what its problem is – taking third periods off. Coach Craig Berube identified it as a mental thing. He’s not sure what to do about rectifying it other than to keep talking about it.

“We play great the first period, OK in the second period then we lay an egg in the third period,” Hartnell said. “It’s not something you can do in this league and expect to win.”

Downie won’t come in and solve the Flyers’ third-period woes on his own. He probably won’t catch fire and score enough goals to single-handedly make the Flyers an offense-heavy team, either.

“I still play the game hard,” said Downie, a 2005 first-round pick who began his NHL career with two years in Philly starting in 2007. “Still play the game on an edge.”

It’s not that the Flyers were lacking effort or grit in their first 11 games, but they felt they could use more.

“He brings some sandpaper to our lineup,” Hartnell said. “I think he’ll bring a spark to our lineup. He skates well. He’s got great puck skills. It’s something that we could use more of.”

Downie immediately was put on the Flyers’ top line with Claude Giroux and Vinny Lecavalier, two players with whom he had played in the past.