The Philadelphia Flyers have had a rocky start to the season, game after game they struggled to compete. But now in the New Year they are just flourishing. Their games are far from perfect and they still have a lot of work to do but when it comes down to the wire they have been coming up with the W time and time again. During the first half of the season it seemed as if the Flyers would fall to the bottom of the rankings and never really be heard from again. But, they have surged up through their division and have been holding on to 2nd place right above the New York Rangers/ Washington Capitals who are right on their heels.
The Flyers have little chance of catching up to the Pittsburgh Penguins who lead the division with 65 points while the Flyers sit at 50, the Rangers at 47 and Capitals at 46. But, the Flyers are slowly gaining confidence and raising their level of competition. The Penguins underestimated the Flyers earlier this season and the Flyers were able to beat them during a time when the Flyers weren’t able to string together wins. The Flyers are not a team that anyone should be underestimating, especially after last night’s performance where they broke their first period slump and took advantage of the first 20 minutes playing against the Montreal Canadiens.
Right now, half way through the season the Flyers are just figuring it out and I think that they will be able to take this surge straight into the playoffs. With Claude Giroux not making the cut for Canadian’s Olympic team he won’t have distractions to hold him back. A hand full of Flyers have been named to represent their respective countries at the Olympics this year: Jakub Voracek will represent the Czech Republic for the first time which will boost his performance upon return. Mark Streit, an Olympic veteran will be gearing up for his 4th trip to represent Switzerland. Youngster Michael Raffl has been named to Austria’s Olympic team. And, last night we saw this Olympian notch an assist on every goal scored by the Flyers, Andrej Meszaros will be representing Slovakia.
The nearly 2 week break for the Olympics comes at a key time for the Flyers. If they can continue their performance level, enjoy a break or a momentum boost for those competing in the Olympics, this could just add to how dangerous this team could become. It’s always a good feeling for a team when a D-man like Zac Rinaldo scores, he does his job well and scoring a goal last night was the cherry on top. The Flyers are not trying to become 1st in their division, all they have to do is get into the playoffs. They have already beat the Pittsburgh Penguins, so if they can get in they have a realistic chance at the cup.
This team is not done surprising us. In the next few weeks they will be staying right above all of the competition. The key to their win last night was that they took advantage of the 1st period. Often the Flyers have come onto the ice flat footed and blew the first period. But, their sloppiness could be their down fall, as seen last night when they had a few bad line changes which gave way to a goal for the Canadiens. The Flyers need to take the lead early, surge through a full 60 minute game and they will win time and time again. From the worst start in years to 2nd seeded in their division and a record 10 game winning streak at home, the Flyers are ones to watch.