After a dismal start to the season, the Flyers have shown signs of life after All-Star Weekend. The Flyers were abysmal, with an 8 game losing streak highlighting their first half, as well a goaltender situation that left fans scratching their heads. During the losing streak, Philadelphia was outscored 31-15, and all facets of their game were seemingly falling apart. Now, the same team has ripped off eight wins in a row, and they truly look like a confident, determined team that is more than ready to push for a playoff spot. So, what took so long?
To start, the offense has finally found its rhythm. The first half of the season didn’t feature a whole lot of explosiveness, with their goal differential being a -30 entering the break. But, the offense seems to have finally “clicked”, and they continue to find ways to put the puck in the back of the net. James van Riemsdyk has especially taken on a larger role in the offense, putting up 5 goals in as many games since January 14, a game where he tallied a hat trick. If the offense has, in fact, found their mojo again, it helps take unnecessary pressure off the young goaltending corps that has developed.
In addition, the team has finally become comfortable under interim coach Scott Gordon. After becoming the Flyers’ new coach, Gordon battled through the 8-game losing streak, and has found himself in a good position after All-Star weekend. The team looked sluggish and modest, with turnovers not helping their chances of winning, and the offense not nearly producing enough to win. With Gordon settled in and the players finding their identities, the Flyers are poised for more success in the near future.
The Flyers have used seven goaltenders this season. Seven. That’s tied for the most goalies used in a season, and the orange and black had already used their seventh before the midway point of their season. Between Brian Elliott, Michael Neuvirth, Mike McKenna, and Alex Lyon, Philadelphia has had their hands full trying to find their number one solution in net. With Carter Hart now in the fold, he looks to be the centerpiece of this franchise.
Hart’s play, especially as of late, has turned many heads, and he is quickly budding into a young star. During last Thursday night’s game against the Bruins, Bill Clement described Carter Hart as a “marshmallow” that absorbs almost everything that comes his way, and I couldn’t agree more with his observation. The Flyers have infamously had goalie problems for years, and to see Sergei Bobrovsky thrive in Columbus makes many Flyers fan queasy; but now, it’s different. Hart brings a different energy to the ice, and his experience in the clutch and the unexpected proves his capability as a professional, which will provide the Flyers with much needed support for years to come.
It’s hard to picture this team in the postseason come April, as the stakes in the Metropolitan Division and the Eastern Conference continue to heighten, but there is certainly room to hope. With the trade deadline approaching quickly, the Flyers need to be active. Chuck Fletcher will now try to prove why he was given the General Manager job, and hopefully make the right moves to put the team in the right position.
Featured Image: Metro News
My name is Matthew Dwyer, I am a junior in high school in Drexel Hill, PA. I have been an avid Philadelphia sports fan since I was a toddler, and have dreamt of a chance in sports journalism. In my free time, I enjoy playing drums, listening to music, playing video games, spending time with family and friends, and watching/play sports.