Philly Playoff Hopes Disappear

Photo: Associated Press

By Victor Cabrera

Last season the Philadelphia Flyers secured a playoff spot in dramatic fashion and this season it’s starting to look like something even more dramatic has to occur to battle for the Cup. The second wild card spot is the only spot remaining but Philadelphia isn’t the only team competing for that spot as, Carolina, (New York Islanders), Tampa Bay, and Boston all sit above the Flyers in the standings. Although it is numerically possible to qualify the task is difficult as the Flyers would need the teams above them to lose games while Philadelphia winning their remaining games. March was a good month for Philly going 8-6-1 for 17 points and staying in the hunt for the playoffs. Analyzing this past month will reveal the reason why the Flyers will not qualify for the post season, without further ado here’s a breakdown of March.

The month’s first game was at home versus the Florida Panthers, the debut night for newly acquired Valtteri Filppula with the Philadelphia Flyers. A slow start to the game with no goals in the first and the game’s opening goal coming in the second period for the Panthers while being short-handed. The new guy Valtteri Filppula tied the game in the third with his debut goal and forced overtime after a 1-1 regulation score. Over time didn’t find a winner between these two teams and a shutout was required. The Flyers shot first with Jordan Weal who scored on his attempt. Mason made a save on the Panthers first shooter giving the home side a brief lead. Captain Claude Giroux had his bit denied and the Panthers scored on their second attempt tying it 1-1 after two rounds. Jakub Voracek was next up beating the Florida goalie to put Philadelphia up 2-1. With the Panthers facing sudden death they attempted to tie the shootout but Steve Mason denied them for a 2-1 win in the shootout for the Flyers. Next on the schedule was a four-game road trip the first stop being in Washington. A very slow-paced game as both the first and second period were scoreless. Sean Couturier opened the scoring early in the third but the Capitals tied it moments later. The tie was deadlocked and forced overtime the second consecutive one for the Flyers. The Capitals, however, decided the game scoring on a power play for a 2-1 overtime loss for the Flyers.

Philadelphia would then head North to face off with the Buffalo Sabers. Matt Read got the game started scoring an early goal to put the Flyers ahead however Buffalo’s dangerous power play tied the game, 1-1 was the score after the first period. Radko Gudas restored the lead for Philly scoring in the second but yet again the Buffalo power play had a response tying the game. Jordan Weal scored putting the Flyers back on top followed by a goal from Claude Giroux to increase the lead to two with one period left. Chris VandeVelde didn’t let the intermission stop Philadelphia from increasing their lead scoring early in the final period. Shortly after Travis Konecny further increased the lead to four goals but, before the game’s end the Sabers scored with the final score being 6-3 in favor of the Flyers. The following game was against the Toronto Maple Leafs who were also looking for a playoff spot like the Philadelphia Flyers. Wayne Simmonds kicked the game off with a power play tally but the Leafs did the same and a 1-1 score was the result at intermission. The leafs took the lead in the second scoring the period’s only goal. Toronto further increased their lead in the third scoring on another power play. Shayne Gostisbehere brought the Flyers within one goal. Being down by just one Philadelphia pulled the goalie but Toronto scored on the empty net winning it 4-2. A big two points to lose for the playoff push. To close out the road trip the Flyers paid a visit to the Boston Bruins another team battling for a playoff spot. The Bruins opened the scoring with a power play goal late in the first period the only goal of the frame. Jordan Weal tied the game in the opening minutes of the second with the period’s only goal leading to a 1-1 tie with 20 minutes to play. While the game was in its closing seconds it looked like overtime was going to be needed but the Bruins shot a puck towards the net got a lucky bounce and beat Steve Mason to win 2-1 with just 5.6 seconds left in the game. An extremely tough loss for the Flyers to go from an almost guaranteed one point to nothing at all for a long hard-fought game.

The Flyers returned for a two game home stand at the Well’s Fargo Center. The first team they would host were the Columbus Blues Jackets. The Blue Jackets got to work early scoring two unanswered goals in 60 seconds. Travis Konecny scored later in the first period making the score 2-1 after the opening period. Brayden “Hero” Schenn did his usual scoring a key power play goal to tie the game in the second. Shortly after Travis Konecny scored his second of the night giving the Flyers their first lead of the night. Columbus tied the game late in the period for a 3-3 with the third period left to play. The Blue Jackets took the lead in the final period capitalizing on a power play. The Flyers risked it pulling their goalie and Columbus scored on the empty net to win 5-3. The Pittsburgh Penguins came to close out the Philadelphia Flyers’ home stand. The game found itself not having a goal in the opening 20 minutes. Sean Couturier scored in the first minute of the second period to give the game its first goal. Wayne Simmonds increased the lead with a power play tally. 2-0 the Flyers lead with the third period left to play. Claude Giroux scored in the third increasing the lead to three and to secure the win Dale Weise scored off a fortunate deflection to give the Flyers a 4-0 win their first win after losing four in a row.Philadelphia hit the road the next night for a game against the struggling New Jersey Devils. Michael Del Zotto gave the Flyers the lead but the Devils answered quickly to make it 1-1 after the first period. The Devils struck twice in a row in the third for a two goal lead but Brayden “Hero” Schenn scored to make it 3-2 in favor of the Devils. The Flyers were down by just one with 20 minutes to play. New Jersey simply demolished Philadelphia scoring three unanswered goals in the third to win 6-2 their first win after 10 consecutive losses.

The Flyers returned home for a single game against the Carolina Hurricanes. The first period looked like it was a scoreless one but Ivan Provorov scored with less than a minute left for a 1-0 lead after the opening period. Dale Weise scored in the second increasing the lead to two but the Hurricanes scored quickly and then scored again in the closing minute of the second to tie the game 2-2. In the third, the Hurricanes took the lead with a power play goal. With the Flyers down by a goal and with their goalie pulled they scored tying the game with less than a minute to play to force overtime with a 3-3 score. The overtime didn’t last long with the game winner coming off Brayden “Hero” Schenn’s stick for a big two points at home. The Flyers had a four-game road trip next on their schedule with the first game being against the Winnipeg Jets. Neither team scored in the first period. Jordan Weal scored the game’s opening goal in the second however, the Jets tied the game with a powerplay goal. The game was 1-1 with the third period left to play. The Jets scored in the third getting a lead and increased it with another goal later in the third. It becomes out of reach for the Flyers but they scored with two seconds left of the game off a forecheck in the Winnipeg defensive zone, recovering the puck and getting a shot past the Jets’ goalie on the penalty kill for a 3-2 Flyers loss. Next up were the Minnesota Wild. The Wild got an early lead scoring in the game’s first minutes. Sean Couturier scored late in the first tying the game 1-1 after the first period. Matt read scored for the Flyers in the opening seconds of the second with that being the period’s only goal. Philadelphia held their one goal lead through the third and increased it with a Jakub Voracek empty net goal for a 3-1 win against the Wild.

The Flyers returned back East for their next two road games with the first game being at Nationwide Arena against the Columbus Blue Jackets. A slow and very defensive game in which the Blue Jackets won 1-0 with a goal in the second period. The next night the Flyers paid a visit to state and divisional rivals the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Pens took the lead with a power play goal but Jordan Weal took the wheel scoring in the last minute of the first period for a 1-1 score after 20 minutes of play. Valtteri Filppula gave the Flyers the lead with the only goal of the second period. Dale Weise scored early in the third to bump up the lead and then Jakub Voracek added another goal for the Flyers. The Penguins scored making the lead just two. Radko Gudas scored to bring the lead back to three and then Shayne Gostisbehere sealed the game with a goal of his own for a big 6-2 win for Philadelphia. The team would head back home to finish March at the Well’s Fargo Center for two games. First team to be hosted the Ottawa Senators. The visiting side found themselves on the board first with a power-play strike but the Flyers tied it with a power play goal of their own. The 1-1 score held till the third as neither side scored a goal in the second. The Sens took back the lead in the third and again the Flyers tied it this time with a goal from Jordan Weal forcing overtime after a 2-2 score. The extra session, however, didn’t decide a winner requiring a shootout. Jordan Weal would be the hero as he was the only shooter from either team to score and gave Philadelphia the two points in the 3-2 shootout win. The final game of march was against the New York Islanders who were in the battle for a playoff spot. The Flyers had a perfect first period scoring five unanswered goals. The goals came from Dale Weise, Sean Couturier, Radko Gudas, Jordan Weal, and a power play goal from Wayne Simmonds. The Islanders would finally answer back in the second scoring the period’s lone goal. The Islanders would then make the game interesting scoring two goals in the third bringing them within two goals. Valterri Filppula would get the game-sealer with an empty net goal for a 6-3 win.

March leaders for the Philadelphia Flyers are as follows: Goal leader Wayne Simmonds 30 goals, Assist leader Claude Giroux 42 assists, Point leader Jakub Voracek 59 points, Goalie leaders, Steve Mason 25 wins three shutouts, Michal Neuvirth 11 wins no shutouts, Anthony Stolarz 2 wins one shutout.

The Power play has been stellar with Schenn and Simmonds scoring big goals. The penalty kill wasn’t very hot allowing multiple power play goals in single games. Other guys have gotten on the board when Claude Giroux hasn’t made a goal scoring impact. Dale Weise, Sean Couturier, Radko Gudas, and Jordan Weal have made the goals count and are going to be big keys in the playoff fight for the remainder of the season. High scoring games for Philadelphia in this past month’s games have kept the team in the hunt. Two big wins against the Penguins have kept the Flyers in the wild card race. Losing key games to Eastern conference foes hurt the Flyers in the standings is the reason they won’t make the playoffs. Philly needed to win more games and get help, but it’s too late now. The Flyers will have to look to next season.

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April 8th, 2017

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Flyers Hope Recent Play Can Carry Them To Playoffs

Photo: Chris Szagola

By Victor Cabrera

The Flyers have been struggling to reach a wildcard spot and this past month was not the best for their playoff push. A record of 5-5-1 for 11 points this past February and currently four points out of the playoff picture but there’s other competing like Tampa Bay, Florida, and The New York Islanders. The rest of the Eastern conference is not far behind another performance similar to this one may push them further down. .500 in their 11 games is a statistic that needs to be analyzed and will be broken down game by game in the article.

A five game home-stand at the Wells Fargo Center kicked off the month of February for the Flyers. First off was the Montreal Canadians. The Habs scored the game’s first goal in the opening period the only goal of the period. The Flyers didn’t answer till late in the second period with a power play strike from Claude Giroux. The 1-1 tie would go into the third period with both teams needing the next goal to claim an advantage. Flyers’ forward Matt Read scored the game leading goal a long 26 game goal drought was snapped by Ilderton Ontario Native scoring his first goal since November 3rd versus the Islanders. Montreal struggled to score a tying goal and Sean Couturier scored an empty net goal giving the Flyers a 3-1 comeback win over the Habs. The Los Angeles Kings were the next visitor for the Flyers. A scoreless regulation game deadlocked at zero till the mandatory overtime settled the game. Former Flyer, Jeff Carter scored the game-winner in overtime. The Flyers would then host the St. Louis Blues. A scoreless first 30 plus minutes, until the Blues scored the first goal of the game. The Flyers had a one goal deficit to overcome in the third but St. Louis doubled their lead whilst shutting out Philadelphia for a 2-0 win. The Flyers had now failed to score in their last two games.

The Flyers had a fellow Metropolitan Division rival up next at the Wells Fargo Center, The New York Islanders. Wayne Simmonds and the Flyers would score, on the power play, after the last two games being shut out by their opponents. The excitement didn’t last as The Islanders converted on a power play of their own and the tie would go into the intermission. Early in the second, the Islanders would take the lead scoring the period’s only goal. Again with a one goal deficit to overcome the Flyers failed giving up an early third period goal and were unable to come back. The Sharks would visit Philadelphia next to close out the five game home-stand. A defensive game as neither the Sharks or Flyers scored a goal in the first two periods. The rookie defender Ivan Provorov gave the game its first goal. The Sharks responded later in the period scoring on the man advantage which would force overtime. Wayne Simmonds would capitalize on a turnover in the extra session to score the game-deciding goal for the 2-1 win over the Sharks. Their first win after losing three in a row.

Philadelphia had a three-game Western Canadian road trip next on their schedule. The first stop was Calgary to visit the Flames. The Flyers got an early start with a goal from Nick Cousins in the first minute of the game. The Flames responded a couple of minutes later to tie it for a 1-1 score after the opening period. Calgary then got the lone goal of the second period to give them a 2-1 lead with the final period to play. The Flyers struggled to score the game-tying goal in the third, risking it with the extra attacker the Flames scored the game sealer on the empty net for a 3-1 final score in favor of Calgary. The loss had to be forgotten quick as the next night the Flyers were set to take on the Oilers. A quick start for the home team scoring in the opening minutes of the game and scoring another goal late in the first while blanking the Flyers. Radko Gudas scored after the second period’s puck drop bringing the Flyers within one goal. The Oilers, however, had other plans unleashing a trio of goals for a 5-1 lead. Wayne Simmonds got one for the Flyers in the closing seconds of the second to make it 5-2 with one period to play. Philly needs to grind for a comeback and Brayden “Hero” Schenn lowered the Oilers lead to two with a power play goal in the third. The Oilers then scored another goal in the third, for half a dozen goals in a 6-3 win for Edmonton. Two losses in two nights for the Flyers. The last game in Canada for the road trip was the Vancouver Canucks. Wayne Simmonds and the Flyers started the game on the right foot scoring on a power play in the first period the only goal of the opening 20 minutes. Jakub Voracek increased the lead scoring early in the second. Brayden “Hero” Schenn did his same old same old scoring on the power play for the Flyers. Shayne “Ghost” Gostisbehere assisted on all three of the Flyers goals his first NHL game with three points. The Canucks weren’t out of the game just yet scoring shortly after the Flyers’ third goal and again in the late part of the middle frame. The Flyers maintained their 3-2 lead through the intermission and for the rest of the game for their first win on the road trip. Three very tough games that Philly played in western Canada for a mere two points.

The Flyers would return for one game at home followed by the biggest game of the season the Stadium Series game versus the State rivals the Pittsburgh Penguins at Heinz Field. But first the league leading Washington Capitals at home. A staggering start for the home team giving up two goals in the first one of them on the power play for a 2-0 score after the opening period. Brayden “Hero” Schenn cut the Capitals lead in half scoring in the second period. Late in the middle frame, Washington scored regaining their two-goal lead. Philly down by two in the third just couldn’t get an answer but, the Capitals did score one more for good measure in a 4-1 loss for the Flyers. The next big game was the Stadium series match-up between the Penguins and Flyers outdoors in the famous Heinz Field home of the Pittsburgh Steelers. A tough fought first period but the Penguins would be the only ones to score. Pittsburgh then added to their lead converting on a power play in the second. Shortly after Jakub Voracek got the Flyers on the board with a goal of his own. Only down by one was Philly with a whole 20 minutes to play, but Pittsburgh pulled away scoring early in the third. Shayne “Ghost” Gostisbehere brought Philly back to within one scoring on the power play. The Pens went out and scored again increasing their lead to two goals and holding the 4-2 score for the win. Two losses to two of their divisional rivals.

The final game of the month was a home game versus the struggling Colorado Avalanche. The game started to the Flyers liking as Wayne Simmonds lead an odd man rush on the penalty kill and while centering a pass, a sliding Avalanche player deflected the puck into his own net for the Flyers to get on the board first. Wayne Simmonds and the Flyers’ hot power play struck again to increase their lead. Minutes later Jakub Voracek would do the same scoring with the man advantage for a 3-0 lead after the first period. Jordan Weal scored his first career NHL goal and point in the second period for a Flyers 4-0 lead. No more goals were scored after that Flyers’ fourth in the second period and Philly won a big game with their special teams. A nice end to the month of February.

Team leaders for the Flyers after February are as follows: Goal leader Wayne Simmonds with 27 goals,  Assist leader Jakub Voracek with 34 assists, Point leader Jakub Voracek with 51 points. Goalie leaders in wins Steve Mason 17 wins (2 shutouts), Michal Neuvirth 10 wins (0 shutouts), and Anthony Stolarz 2 wins (1 shutout).

Other team news multi-year contract extensions for goalie Michal Neuvirth and left winger Pierre-Edouard Bellemare. Neuvirth has played 24 games but started 21 games for a 10-9-1 record this season. Bellemare has played 62 games for Philly in which he’s recorded three goals and three assists for six points.

The Flyers need to work on lowering the work of their goaltender they’re allowing too many goals only three shutouts between their three goaltenders this season isn’t something to expect with Steve Mason in the net. They’ve had dry spells in which they cannot score a goal low goal scoring usually results in losses. Clean up in the defensive zone is a must to stay in games and give the team a chance to stay motivated to play 60 minutes of hockey. The Power play keeps clicking and that’s something that has to be consistent in the push for the playoffs. This team will fight to the end of the season. With the acquisition of Filppula more offense can be generated. Hopefully, this team can pull off what they did last season and clinch a wild card spot to battle for the cup.

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March 18th, 2017

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Welcome Filppula, Goodbye Streit

Photo: USA Today

By Victor Cabrera

On Wednesday, March 1st the Flyers announced a trade in which the Flyers received Centermen, Valtteri Filppula, 2017 fourth round, and seventh round picks in exchange for alternate captain, veteran defender Mark Streit. Streit was

Streit was in the last year of his four-year deal with the potential of being an unrestricted free agent. At age 39 it didn’t look like he’d stay with the Flyers past this season with defenders Shayne Gostisbehere and Ivan Provorov earning their spot on the roster. Tampa Bay was looking to clear Cap Space and dealt Filppula to Philadelphia as well as there being a no-move clause on the forward further making it an interest for Tampa to trade away now. The new center will continue to use number 51 on his jersey. But that was not the end for Mark Streit as he was traded shortly after being acquired by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Pittsburgh acquired the services of Mark Streit in a trade with Tampa Bay. The Penguins traded their 2018 fourth round pick for the defender that the Lightning had just acquired. The defending Stanley Cup Champions (Pittsburgh Penguins) have an injury issue with their blueliners and need to restock for the season.

Valtteri Filppula this season has played 59 games with Tampa in which he has seven goals and 27 assists for 34 points. He would be expected to make his Flyer debut vs the Panthers March 2nd but may be held off till March 4th at Washington. The Finnish forward has seven power play assists which gives him the potential to join Philadelphia’s power-play unit. Valtteri should be able to achieve 50 points in what remains in the season with 10-12 goals and 40-48 assists depending his ice time and role(s) with the Flyers.

With the Flyers still mathematically able to qualify for the playoffs Filppula can generate some offense to help win games. The two picks included in the deal the Flyers have some potential to add youth to their franchise for the upcoming seasons. On paper this trade looks good with a high-caliber forward being added to an offensive team like Philadelphia but as the season continues his game-play will reflect on the score-sheet. In eight games with Philly so far, Filppula has registered two points(1 G + 1A). He is going to need to contribute more if the Flyers home to squeeze in the playoffs in a wild card spot.

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March 18th, 2017

 

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Flyers Monthly Review: January

Photo: Matt Slocum/AP

Photo: Matt Slocum/AP

By Victor Cabrera

Philadelphia has been battling to stay alive in the ever so tough Metropolitan Division this season, and this past month of January was a struggle for them. The Flyers would play 13 games (with the All-Star Break) and had a mark of 5-6-2 for a total of 12 points. They’re currently in a wild card position but there is still lots of games that have to be played against other teams looking to clinch the wild card. They have to elevate their game if they want to be in the playoffs. Now to review Philadelphia and their play during January.

The New Year rang in with a road game against the Anaheim Ducks. A very scary start to the game in which Wayne Simmonds engaged in a fight with Kevin Bieksa and it appeared that Simmonds’ jersey was not attached with the fight strap which would have resulted in an automatic game misconduct. The replay, however, did show the strap was attached and it would be a simple five-minute minor for him. Ryan Kesler of the Ducks would score first but, the home team’s lead was short-lived as Travis Konecny scored just 19 seconds later on the rush. Ryan Kesler restored the Duck’s lead later in the opening period for a 2-1 lead at the intermission. Shortly after the start of the second period Ryan Kesler would net his hat trick goal and the Flyers would trail 3-1. The Flyers would be quick to answer with Sean Couturier scoring 37 seconds later. Brayden Schenn would get the honors of tying the game minutes later on a Flyer’s power play. Regulation would end 3-3 and overtime was required but neither team scored the game-winner, forcing a shootout. The Ducks would shoot first and Rickard Rakell scored his attempt. Shayne Gostisbehere had his chance denied. In round two both shooters did not score. Now with the Duck’s able to win they missed. Jakub Voracek scored to prolong the shootout. In the fourth round, both shooters missed. In round five Anaheim forward Corey Perry, scored his shot and Sean Couturier missed his causing the Flyers to lose in the shootout with a final score of 4-3. The Flyers would head back home for a brief two game homestand with the New York Rangers being the first game. Neither team managed to score in the first period. Early in the start of the second period, the visitors would score the first goal and the only goal of the middle frame. The Rangers would add two goals in the third pulling away from the Flyers but, Jakub Voracek scored a powerplay goal attempting to rally Philadelphia to a comeback. However, New York scored minutes restoring their lead to three goals. Late in the third, the Flyers’ protagonist Jakub Voracek netted his second goal of the night. Philly pulled the goalie in hopes of tying the game but the Rangers scored ending the game 5-2. The struggling Tampa Bay Lightning were next at the Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers gave up the lone goal in the first period. With the second period commencing Travis Konecny scored tying the game with his goal. Sean Couturier added a goal of his own giving Philly the lead, and Michael Raffl made the lead two. Tampa answered back in the period and less than a minute later, Radko Gudas gave the Flyers back the two-goal lead. There were no goals in the final period giving Philadelphia a 4-2 comeback win at home. That also ended their five-game losing streak.

Following the big win at home, the Flyers had to visit the Columbus Blue Jackets for a Metropolitan Division match-up. The two teams would have a scoreless first period. While the Flyers struggled all through the third period, Brayden Schenn pounced on a rebound to score the game-tying goal with their goalie pulled. The Blue Jackets, however, got the game-winning overtime goal and Philadelphia came away with just one point. The Flyers would then go visit the Buffalo Sabers. Another scoreless opening period for Philadelphia and their opponents. The middle frame was all Buffalo as they scored the first goal on the power play and then scored two more in the period. Another struggling third period and another clutch goal for Brayden Schenn this one on the power play. The Flyers attempted to overcome the two-goal deficit testing their luck with the extra attacker but, allowed an empty net in the final seconds of the game for a 4-1 loss on the road. The Flyers would come back to town for one game against the Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks got on the board first and Travis Konecny tied the game with a power play tally leaving the game tied after the first period. Vancouver reclaimed their lead early in the second period. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare scored for Philadelphia tying the game and then just 19 seconds later Sean Couturier gave the Flyer’s their first lead of the game. The lead was short-lived as the Canucks tied the game 22 seconds later followed by gaining back the lead minutes later. Head coach Dave Hakstol decided to switch out Steve mason due to allowing all 4 goals on 24 shots and put Michal Neuvirth in net for the third period. At the start of the final period, the hero Brayden Schenn scored a power play goal tying the game at 4-4 and that score held through regulation. The overtime session didn’t decide a winner so a shootout was required. Neither team scored in the first round. Claude Giroux scored his shot in the second round while the Canucks’ attempt was denied. In the third round, both team’s shooters were denied giving the Flyers the win along with Neuvirth getting the relief win.

The Next two games were back to back road games with the first being at Boston vs the Bruins. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare opened the scoring with his early first period goal which was later answered by a Bruin’s short-handed goal. After an exchange of goals in the first for a 1-1 tie, the teams would head to intermission. The Bruins then capitalized on a power play in the second period for the lead and added to their lead with another goal. The Flyers got one back when again “Hero Schenn” scored a power play goal. The Bruins answered back with a power play goal of their own and then another goal. In the closing seconds of the second period, Wayne Simmonds scored on the power play making it 5-3 with one period to play. The Flyers again found themselves struggling to score and tie in the third resulting in pulling the goalie, giving up an empty net goal to lose the game 6-3. They had to bounce back quickly as the next game was the next night in the Nation’s capital against Washington. They were visiting the red-hot flames on an eight-game win streak. A scoreless first period for both Metropolitan Clubs. Philadelphia allowed a power play goal and the game’s first goal as well as the second period’s only goal. Everything went terribly for the Flyers in the third as allowed four goals in five minutes. Philadelphia lost back to back games and this one a crushing defeat by a 5-0 score. 

The Flyers had six days off before their next back to back games with the first being at home versus the New Jersey Devils. New Jersey scored the opening goal, and Nick Cousins tied it up for the home side, resulting in a 1-1 tie between the Devils and Flyers. The Devils scored on a power play in the second and added to their lead with a late goal. Early in the third the Devils scored on another power play and won the game 4-1. Philadelphia would have to leave that loss behind as they were being hosted by the New York Islanders the next night. New York scored the only goal in the first period to take their minimal lead into the second period in which they scored again. Wayne Simmonds got on the board with his goal later in the second period. Early in the third the rookie Ivan Provorov scored the game-tying goal and was able to force overtime. The Captain Claude Giroux took matters into his own hands scoring the game-winning goal in the extra session for a 3-2 win their first win after losing three straight.

The Flyers had two more games back to back prior to the All-Star break with the first being on the road versus the New York Rangers. The game has the first two periods end scoreless. The Flyers scored the game’s first goal in the third period with a Wayne Simmonds’ power play goal. Jakub Voracek then scored making the lead two which the Rangers could not respond to and the Flyers got a 2-0 shootout win with Steve Mason in net. The team had to head back home to host the Toronto Maple Leafs. Wayne Simmonds opened the scoring with a goal his third goal in his last three games. Wayne’s goal would be the only of the period. The Maple Leafs would tie it in the second with a lone goal. The deciding goal came in the third period when the rookie winger Roman Lyumbimov scored for the 2-1 victory. The Flyers had now won their last three games.

Philadelphia had the weekend off for the All-Star break with Wayne Simmonds representing the team in Los Angeles. Simmonds and the Metropolitan Division won the 3-on-3 tournament and he was named the MVP of the All-Star game scoring the game winner in the final and scoring once in the semi-final. Simmonds was then also named the NHL top player of the week for his All-Star performance and his three goals in three games earlier in the week.

The Flyers had their last game of January at Carolina versus the Hurricanes. A game for the Flyers to forget but a game to remember for “The Rookie Sensation” Sebastian Aho as he scored two goals in the first period. Jeff Skinner scored in the second period. Then Aho would complete his very first hat trick scoring on the power play in the second period. Justin Faulk scored a third period power play goal and “Hero Schenn” scored the Flyers’ only goal of the night on a power play late in the third for a 5-1 road loss.

The Flyers’ points leaders are as follows: The goal leader Wayne Simmonds 21 goals, The assist leader Jakub Voracek 31 points, the points leader Jakub Voracek with 45 points and Steve Mason with 16 wins, Michal Neuvirth 8 wins.

The Flyers had a fluctuating month with the best being their three-game win streak prior to the All-Star Break. The good has been “Hero Scheen”, Wayne Simmonds, and Travis Konecny scoring on the power play. Coach Hakstol has found a solid shootout order and the line of Giroux, Simmonds, and Gostisbehere for the overtime session has been great. The goalie lineup may be looked at in which Mason has been pulled as well as allowed lots of goals which could result in a trade with the deadline and the playoffs coming up. The Flyers should look to score first and not fall behind because they really struggle to catch up they allow more goals in when attempting to tie the game. They have to clean up their game, start some momentum to use for the big Stadium Series game versus the Pittsburgh Penguins at Heinz Field for the Stadium Series February 25th. At this point in the season is when they need to get the wheels turning, pick up points to secure their spot on the wild card. It’s a tough task ahead but it is possible if they string together a win streak.

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February 8, 2017

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Flyers Monthly Review: December

Photo: Matt Slocum, AP

Photo: Matt Slocum, AP

By Victor Cabrera

Philadelphia had a busy holiday season as they played 14 games through the month of December. The Flyers marked a 9-4-1 record throughout the month for 19 points. Halfway through the month they had achieved a 10 game winning streak with eight of their wins coming in December and two in the previous month of November. Currently, the Flyers are 5th in the Metropolitan with 45 points and 6th in the Eastern Conference. The Flyers are in a wild card spot and would make the playoffs if the season ended now. Consistency was highly met in this month by Philly till near the end of the month in which they didn’t look so hot. Now to review in more detail the month of December for the Flyers.

The first game was in the Canadian capital, Ottawa to face the Senators. Philadelphia would find themselves in a tough spot trailing 2-0 early in the second period but fought to even up the score 2-2 with goals from captain Giroux and Del Zotto. In the third period, neither team managed to score forcing overtime and giving each team a point. The extra session didn’t last as Voracek would receive a pass and skate through the slot forcing the Senators to pressure leaving Giroux open to receive a precision pass from Voracek to score the game-winning goal. The captain would help the Flyers achieve the comeback win 3-2.

Next Chicago would come into town for the first of the Flyer’s back to back games. The Blackhawks would score the lone goal through the opening period. The Flyers would mount another comeback this time fueled by the rookie defensemen Ivan Provorov who scored two goals 31 seconds apart. Brayden Schenn would add to the Flyers lead. An eventless final period would end the game 3-1 in favor of Philly. The Flyers would visit Nashville the very next night. Wayne Simmonds would score a power play goal in the first period the only goal of that period. In the second period, Flyers and Preds exchanged goals both teams scoring twice in the period. Simmonds scored his second of the night and Raffl had the other goal in the period giving them a 3-2 lead through 40 minutes of play. Philly would manage to hang onto their lead and would increase it when VandeVelde scored an empty net goal giving them a 4-2 win in music city.

The Flyers would come back to Wells Fargo Center for a three game home-stand. The Florida Panthers would come into town for the first game. Flyers would trail but Simmonds would tie it in the first period. Simmonds would score again the second period to give them the lead with one period to play. The Panthers would strike back in the third, to force overtime. Overtime seemed like it wasn’t going to be enough but in the closing seconds, Voracek would score the game winning goal. A final of 3-2 with Mason recording 42 saves on 44 shots faced. The Oilers would be the next to visit Philadelphia. Edmonton would lead 2-0 early in the second period but the Flyers would rally to lead 3-2 in the period but would allow a short-handed goal to leave the game 3-3 with the final period to play. The Oilers would yet again take a two goal lead, this time in the third period. The comeback seemed tough but the Flyers would do the unlikely with the major contribution of Voracek. He would score and then assist in the Flyers next two goals to make it 6-5 for a comeback win. Voracek had 1 goal and 3 assists that night while Giroux had 2 goals. Twice the Flyers came back from a two goal deficit.

The Dallas Stars would be up next at home. The Stars would score to lead, but Flyers center Brayden Schenn would score a power play goal to tie it. There would be no scoring in the second period. In the third, the Stars would take the lead again only to once again be answered by Schenn on the power play. However, Schenn would score shortly after on another power play giving him his hat trick, scoring all his goals with the man advantage. Voracek would score an empty net goal to seal the win over Dallas 4-2. While Schenn had a hat trick again Voracek was key tallying 4 points 1 goal and 3 assists. He assisted on all of Schenn’s goals and had a part in every goal scored that night by Philadelphia. That win couldn’t be celebrated long as Philly would have to visit the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. An event-less game as a 0-0 score carried its way into overtime where the only goal was scored by the Flyers. Brayden would score the game winner and the rookie Anthony Stolarz in his second NHL game recorded a 28 save shutout.

The Flyers would head west to face the Colorado Avalanche. A scoreless first with the Flyers trying to win their 10th straight game. Del Zotto would put the Flyers on top but the Avs would score twice putting them in the lead. Simmonds would tie the game later in the period. 2-2 with one more period to play. Early in the third period Lyubimov and Schenn would score pulling them closer to a win. Colorado would try to come back to tie it but only scored once in the later stages of the third period. The Flyers now had won 10 in a row, eight of them in December alone. An impressive and difficult accomplishment for Philadelphia. Next, they would visit the Stars a team they had beaten a week prior. The Flyers got things started by scoring first but after that crumbled as the Stars would shut them down after that goal and score 3 goals one in the second period and two in the third period. The Flyers were handed their first loss after winning 10 in a row with the 3-1 loss at Dallas.

Philly would come home to face the Predators another team they had beaten earlier in the month. Regulation would end with a 1-1 tie and overtime didn’t settle it for either team. Shootout it was. Flyers shot first and couldn’t score on both their attempts. Nashville scored on their second attempt and the Flyers missed their third unable to tie it giving the Predators two points. A divisional game at home was next as the Capitals come to visit. Flyers and Capitals would both be knotted up at two a piece through regulation and overtime didn’t settle it for them. In shoot out the first 3 rounds ended 1-1 forcing a sudden death round. Flyers’ Wayne Simmonds scored and Mason saved the Capitals attempt giving Philly two points. The Flyers would have another divisional game the next night in New Jersey. A terrible game for Philadelphia getting dominated and shut out for a 4-0 final score.

The Holiday break would allow the Flyers to regroup before heading West for the final two games of 2016. First, they would visit the St. Louis Blues. Simmonds gave them the lead but the Blues would leave the first period with a 2-1 lead. The Flyers would tie it 2-2 in the second. In the third, the Flyers would take a 3-2 lead but fell hard to a Blues third period 4 goal rally. The four goal rally concluded with Blues forward Robby Fabbri scoring his first career hat trick. The final game of 2016 was against the San Jose Sharks at SAP center. Despite Stolarz great performance the Sharks coasted to a 2-0 win. The Flyers didn’t end well despite their good month.

The point leader thus far is Jakub Voracek 11 goals and 24 assists for 35 points. Voracek leads the teams in assists. Wayne Simmonds is the goal leader with 17 goals and has 14 assists for 31 points. Tied in points with Simmonds is Captain Claude Giroux with 10 goals and 21 assists for 31 points. Fourth place would be Brayden Schenn who has 10 goals and 13 assists for 23 points. Steve Mason is the goalie leader for this team 14-12-4 in his 28 starts with no shutouts. The rookie Stolarz is 2-0-0 with one shutout. Michal Neuvirth is 4-2-0 in his eight starts due to being pulled in games this season. Stolarz is the only goaltender for the Flyers with a shutout thus far.

The Flyers had a good month 9-4-1 but their losses were very bad as they didn’t play well offensively. Their goaltending is solid which is key for the back to back games and road trips. The Flyers should look to protect their leads better while still generating offense. The power play is clicking but the penalty kill has struggled. The overtime sessions have been good it seems like Giroux, Gostisbehere, and Voracek is a winning combo for the 3 on 3. Another good thing is they are finding scoring from other guys like Schenn and Provorov. They need to win games against their divisional rivals to ascend in the standings more. There’s a good balance and with minor fixes, they can stay consistent and play even better.

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January 7, 2017

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Flyers Monthly Review: November

Photo: AP/Derik Hamilton

Photo: AP/Derik Hamilton

By Victor Cabrera

Philadelphia had an extensive game schedule for November. The Flyers have played 24 games this season, 14 of which were played this past month. Philadelphia went 7-5-2 for a total of 16 points in the month of November. Currently, they sit 4th in the Metropolitan division and 10th in the Eastern Conference with 31 points on the season. Currently, they are in the playoff race for one of the bottom spots in the Eastern Conference. Now for the overview of the Flyers jam-packed month in November.

The first game of the month was a front end of a back-to-back in which Detroit visited the Flyers. A game which was a sour start for Philly as the trailed 2-0 after the opening 20 minutes. Chris VandeVelde would answer back for the Flyers in the 2nd period leaving them down by only a goal after the 2nd period. The rookie Roman Lyubimov would tie it up for Philadelphia with his first Career NHL goal and point. Zetterberg scored later in the period and the Red Wings would end up taking back the lead. In the closing minutes of the game Mark Streit the veteran defensemen would find the back of the net with their goalie pulled to force overtime. Overtime wouldn’t last long as Voracek would score the game winner on a pass from captain Claude Giroux securing two points for the home team. The win over Detroit couldn’t be celebrated long as the Flyers headed for the Barclay’s Center to play the Islanders. The game had a scoreless first period. The Flyers would trade goals with the Islanders as

The win over Detroit couldn’t be celebrated long as the Flyers headed for the Barclay’s Center to play the Islanders. The game had a scoreless first period. The Flyers would trade goals with the Islanders as Travis Konecny Scored for Philadelphia and John Tavares scored for New York. The Islanders would take the lead in the 3rd and just like the night before the Flyers scored a late 3rd period goal with their goalie pulled. However, overtime didn’t settle the game and shootout was to be played. Both Flyers and Islanders had their shots blocked in the 1st round. In the 2nd round, Michal Neuvirth again made a save on the Islanders shooter and Giroux was to shoot next for Philadelphia. Giroux used his crafty hands to deke out Jaroslav Halak of the Islanders and scored a highlight goal. Next in the 3rd round was John Tavares in sudden death he had to score to keep his team alive. Neuvirth however, did not bite on any of Tavares tricks and made a poke check save to give the Flyers the win and two points. Next was the Canadians on the road that had a high scoring first period 2-2 after the first 20 minutes. A Habs solo goal in the second gave them the lead. Montreal increased their lead to two. The Flyers would score on the power play twice but Montreal scored short-handed and despite the Flyers’ rally they lost a tough game by the score of 5-4.

Next was the Canadians on the road that had a high scoring first period 2-2 after the first 20 minutes. A Habs solo goal in the second gave them the lead. Montreal increased their lead to two. The Flyers would score on the power play twice but Montreal scored short-handed and despite the Flyers’ rally they lost a tough game by the score of 5-4.

Back at home, they faced the Red Wings again. History repeated itself as after regulation they ended in a tie this time Overtime time didn’t settle this game but instead a shootout in which the Flyers missed all three of their shots and Detroit scored on their third shot. Philadelphia would take a single point at home. A visit to Toronto was next on the schedule. A tied 2-2 first period and then a 3-2 Flyer lead in the second that crumbled in the third. The Maple Leafs put on an offensive show scoring four unanswered goals by four different Toronto players. Definitely, a tough game for the Flyers to drop. The tough loss didn’t last as they had to go back home and host the Wild. A first period that had the Wild in front only to be answered by the home team. As was the case in the second period. A tight 2-2 game with the third period to play. Flyers would finally grasp a lead scoring on the power play was Brayden Schenn. With the lead in hand, the Wild tried to tie it up by pulling their goalie for the extra attacker. In the final seconds of the game, Eric Staal had a glorious chance but Steve Mason made a huge pad save denying the Wild to tie it and winning the game for Philadelphia.

There were three more games for the Flyers at home following that win over the Wild. The Senators came into town in which an equal exchange of goals forced overtime and shootout after a 2-2 regulation end. A five round long shootout the was lost by the Flyers when Erik Karlsson scored the only shot. The streaky Jets were next into town. A dominant opening period for Philadelphia leaving them with a 2-0 lead. The Jets would try a comeback scoring and only to have Streit score for the Flyers but then another Jets goal. 3-2 was the score after second period the Flyers lead had diminished to just one. Simmonds would add to the lead and then Manning would secure the win with an empty-net goal. An impressive 5-2 win over Winnipeg. The Bolts came into Philadelphia with hungry to continue their win streak. The Bolts would put on a solid game scoring once in each period and holding the Flyers to none thanks to a solid performance from net minder Andrei Vasilevskiy with 30 saves against Philadelphia. A bad end to the four game home-stand of the Flyers with the 3-0 loss to Tampa Bay.

A two game back to back road trip to Florida was next on the schedule of the Flyers. First was the Florida Panthers. The Flyers learned about being solid scoring one goal in each period. Simmonds scored the first goal, in the opening period followed by a second period power play goal from Dale Weise, and then a third period power play goal from Nick Cousins. The Panthers would score being the only blemish on Mason’s 38 save performance and the Flyers 3-1 win. Revenge was set as the Flyers would go to Tampa Bay a team they had lost to just the previous week. A goal for the Bolts in the closing seconds of the opening period to give them a lead at intermission. In the middle frames, Philadelphia would come out to score twice giving them a lead with the third period still to play. The Flyers had a similar fate in the third period as they did with Toronto. The ice tilted in favor of the Bolts netting 3 unanswered goals while blanking the Flyers to win the game 4-2. Another tough loss to the Bolts. Black Friday was a home game for the Flyers as they hosted the New York Rangers. A bad two periods for the Flyers trailing 3-0 after 40 minutes of play. Luck changed for them as Chris VandeVelde got a fortuitous bounce past Lundqvist to put the Flyers on the board. A late third period goal with the goalie off for the extra attacker, from Shayne Gostisbehere would make it 3-2 Flyers still trailing. Philadelphia couldn’t rally back to tie and lost the game 3-2 at home.

There was two more games at Wells Fargo Center in November. The Calgary Flames would visit the Flyers. Anthony Stolarz was making his season debut in net for Philadelphia. A first period that had both teams score a goal. The second period was all Flyers as they would find the net 3 times. 4-1 was the score after the second period in favor of the Flyers. The Flames would try to tackle the three goal deficit, by scoring a goal that was answered by the Flyer’s rookie Roman Lyubimov. The Flames would score another goal in the third but it wasn’t enough the Flyers took a 5-3 win, while Stolarz made 29 saves on the night. The final game of the month was against the Boston Bruins. A great Flyer’s first period leading 2-0 and holding onto it till the third period in which the Bruins managed to tie it 2-2 and force overtime and a shoot out. In the shoot out both teams were scoreless till the 5th round in which both teams scored and prolonged the shoot out. It reached a nine round shootout in which Shayne Gostisbehere scored for the Flyers and David Backes was denied by Mason to end the game 3-2 in favor of the Flyers. Mason had a good game with 45 saves on the night. With that win the month of November ended for Philadelphia.

Team Leaders at the end of November

The team leaders so far are Wayne Simmonds who leads both goals and points. Simmonds has 11 goals and 11 assists for 22 points. Claude Giroux leads the team in assists with 15. Giroux is also tied in second for the team in points with 20 points. Jakub Voracek also has 20 points (8 goals, 12 Assists). Brayden Schenn also has a good amount of points which would be expected for Gostisbehere rather than Schenn. Schenn has 14 points (3 goals 11 assists) he’s managed to find his way onto the score sheet and leads defenders on the teams in points. The goalie positions seems to be Mason as starter and Neuvirth as backup and Stolarz has made a lone appearance. Mason has 6 team wins while Neuvirth has 4 not very good for either of them as the neither are stellar in net. This could be a set back down the season stretch that should be looked at.

The Flyers need to close out games and prevent from shutting down in third periods like they did against the Maple Leafs and the Lightning. It has cost them 4 points and isn’t something that a playoff hockey team does. The power play is good and scoring with their goalie pulled is another good trend for the Flyers. With better game management they can keep games close and utilize the goalie pulled and power play to force games into overtime and the shoot out that they do well in. That would also help them at least gain a point rather than zero. With some improvement the Flyers can get back on the right track as there is still plenty of the season to play.

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December 5th

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Philadelphia Flyers Monthly Review: October

Photo: Eric Hartline-USA Today

Photo: Eric Hartline-USA Today

By Victor Cabrera

For the Flyers every month is orange and mid-October was the start of a brand new NHL season. This season the Flyers celebrate their 50th year in the NHL. Although October is usually about ghosts and other scary things this season so far has been a bit of a haunting. With their fluctuating performance, these first 10 games have not been as good as Philadelphia and their fans would like. Now to review the Orange Month of the year and see what exactly has happened with the Flyers.

Philadelphia played a total of ten games in the month of October. Their record was 4-5-1 for a total of nine points. A three-game Western Conference trip would kick off the 2016-2017 season for the Flyers. The 1st game would be in southern California against the Kings. A scoreless 1st between the Flyers and Kings would turn into a flurry of goals as the Flyers would score all their goals (4) unanswered till late in the 2nd period. The Kings would score a lone goal in the 3rd. Sean Couturier would score two of the Flyers goals and the rookie Travis Konecny would have two assists in his debut. A win in the new season against the Kings by the score of 4-2 was the right start for Philly. The next night the Flyers would visit the Desert Dogs in Arizona. The Flyers would trail after the 1st period 2-1. They would trail 3-1 but, Simmonds would connect with Giroux to score ending the period 3-2 in favor of Arizona. Matt Read would tie the game in the 3rd forcing overtime. However, despite tying the game and forcing overtime the Coyotes were able to take the 2 points scoring in the extra session.

The last game of the Western Conference road trip was against Chicago. The Blackhawks would coast in the first period with a 3-0 lead at intermission. Hossa would add to the lead in the 2nd period scoring the 4th goal for Chicago and his 500th career goal. The Flyers would get a late second period goal as Matt Read would score on the power play. Read would score again this time in the third period and fuel a comeback for the Flyers. They would tie it up with Chicago 4-4 early in the 3rd period. However, Chicago answered back in the 2nd half of the period with three goals ending the game 7-4.

Next was a two game home-stand as the Anaheim Ducks came into town for the first home game of the season for the Flyers. The home side would trail after the 1st period. The Flyers would be able to take a lead in the 2nd period but, the Ducks would tie it to have a score of 2-2 after 40 minutes of play. Midway through the third Ducks’ forward Ryan Garbutt would receive a behind the net pass from Holzer to give the Ducks the game-winning goal. The Carolina Hurricanes would be next to stop into town. A scoreless 1st would soon be changed by the Canes as they would score two early and unanswered 2nd-period goals. Brandon Manning would help kick-start the Flyers comeback scoring shortly after being down 2-0. The Flyers would score 4 unanswered goals in the 2nd and would allow a late goal to make the score 4-3 Philly after the 2nd period. Simmonds would score on the power play in the 3rd and Jakub Voracek would score his 2nd goal for Philly late into regulation to beat Carolina 6-3.

The next two games for the Flyers were back to back games first with playing Montreal on the road. The Habs would take care of the Flyers 3-1 with good performances from Carey Price in net (31 saves) and Alexander Radulov who had 1 goal and 2 assists. The Habs would win their 4th straight game while the Flyers had to go back home to host the Sabers. After a scoreless first period, Buffalo would come out hot in the 2nd scoring three goals. Two of the goals on the power play both scored by Matt Moulson. It seemed like another flurry of goals was the end of the Flyers. However, they were able to turn the game around due to the fact that the lack of discipline of the Sabers. Travis Konecny would score his 1st career NHL goal on the power play. The Flyers would then score two more power-play goals to force overtime with a 3-3 score. Overtime wouldn’t find us a winner so shoot out it was. Both sides would miss their first attempt. Giroux would score for the Flyers. Kyle Okposo would be denied by Steve Mason which led to Voracek securing two points for the Flyers beating Nilsson with a wrist shot in the shootout. A very hard comeback to accomplish for any team in the NHL.

The Flyers would have two more home games following the shootout victory against Buffalo. Both games they would lose to the same score 5-4 first to the Coyotes and then to the Defending Stanley Cup Champions and state rivals the Pittsburgh Penguins. Against the Coyotes, they were able to rally to a 2-2 tie but Arizona was able to keep them down and out. Versus the Penguins, Philadelphia had a two-goal lead but Crosby would score twice for the Penguins followed by one from Cullen and Malkin. Giroux would score his first in the season bring them closer, Voracek would tie the game 4-4 and that would be the score after 40 minutes. Malkin would score the game-winning goal in the 3rd his second goal of the game to defeat Philly 5-4.

The last game for the Flyers in October was against the Carolina Hurricanes. Shayne Gostisbehere would score the lone goal in the 1st period. A five-goal second period would leave the game 3-3 after two periods of play. Brandon Manning would get the game-winning short-handed goal in the 3rd for the final score of 4-3. A treat after the two consecutive losses at home.

The Flyers’ goalies have had both pretty equal shares in minutes so far. However, Michal Neuvirth leads the Flyers with four wins versus Steve Mason‘s 2 wins. Konecny has been an impressive rookie for the Flyers having one goal and six assists for 7 points. Wayne Simmonds lead the team in goals with six. Claude Giroux led the team in both assists and points 10 assists and his two goals for 12 points.

Philadelphia has to focus on not losing leads in games and keeping the power play hot like this did against Buffalo. They need to be consistent with the extra man because those chances could be the difference maker in the game whether it be catching up or pulling away from the opponent. With other players like Voracek, Streit, Read, and Manning finding the net also it takes away the pressure from the top players like Giroux and Simmonds. If the scoring can be spread out across the team it will result in more wins. Their biggest problem has been dropping leads and allowing too many goals making a comeback much more difficult. The Flyers have to manage the 60-minute game; playing smart hockey, looking to take the lead, and keeping the foot on the gas.

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