Flyers Holding Steady
In a season where the Flyers looked at times dead in the water to potential Cup contenders, it’s been an up and down season for the Fly Guys to say the least.
But recent form shows that the team is finally starting to piece together a nice pace of play and holding steady in the ultra tight Metropolitan division. The Flyers entered the Olympic break with a 4 game win streak including wins over the Sharks and Kings.
Coming out of the break they put on a clunker and got demolished by the Sharks 7-3. But they didn’t panic, didn’t make a drastic trade or fire their coach. No, they continued to grind won their next 3 and have a 4 game point streak after another 3rd period comeback against the Toronto Maple Leafs came up just short in overtime last Saturday.
Being one of the hottest teams right now in the NHL at 7-2-1 certainty helps the Flyers stay in contention for the playoffs. This years competition might be one of the closest in recent memory and with a new playoff format that is exactly what the NHL wanted. In the Metro division alone the point differential between the second place Rangers and sixth place Devils is a mere 5 points. 5!
The recent play by the Flyers has shown me one key factor compared to their play in the beginning of the season under Berube; the concept of team defense. Since the first game out of the break, the Flyers have not given up more than 4 goals in each game. Steve Mason has really started to find a groove in his play as well and is continuing to get better as the defensive play in front of him improves as well.
Along with defensive play, the special teams play has held steady as one of the better units in the league. The Flyers are 11th and 10th on the power play and penalty kill, respectively. So even with the occasional dumb penalty the team commits, the team as a whole in confident in their own abilities to keep themselves in the game throughout.
Of all their progress they’ve had, one still huge blemish remains. Their abysmally slow starts in the first period. The start of a game won’t win you the game necessarily but a slow start, like the one we saw against Toronto, will certainly help you lose the game. If the Flyers hadn’t given up those 2 goals against the Leafs Saturday in the first 1:30 of the game, they most likely would have won that game. But following what Mason did following that loss, just skate off the ice and move on to the next matchup.
This season has certainly been a roller coaster ride, But get ready Flyers fans because were climbing to our highest point at this stage in the season Flyers fans. Are we in for another regular season finish like the one in 2010? Just looking at the current Metro standings will point to yes. Will the Flyers continue to climb the roller coaster or drop to the end?