The Flyers Week in Review for March 14. Your source for all things Orange and Black.
Philadelphia Flyers 2015-16 season:
Games – 67/Wins – 32/Losses – 23/OT Losses – 12/Points – 76
When this past week began, the Flyers were poised to make a serious lunge for the carousel ring – that elusive eighth playoff spot. Despite a couple of key injuries to Jakub Voracek and Michael DelZotto, the friendly confines of the Wells Fargo Center had helped the team elevate their level of play. During the first four games of their homestand the Orange and Black had earned six out of a possible eight points.
- On Monday Shayne Gostisbehere’s two goal game led the Flyers over the streaking Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2. These were “Ghost’s” 13th and 14th goals of the year, setting a new Flyers rookie record. This game was also one of the team’s best overall performances of the season. It left the Flyers just two points behind Detroit for the second wildcard spot.
- The home and home series continued against the Lightning on Friday night with similar results. With goals by Sam Gagner, Matt Read, and Brayden Schenn, the Flyers prevailed 3-1, earning their first win in Tampa Bay in over five years. In both games against the Lightening the Flyers spent most of the contest in their own offensive zone and limited the Bolts to less than 20 shots per game.
- Despite a strong offensive effort with goals by Shayne Gostisbehere, Michael Raffl, Ryan White, and Nick Cousins, the Flyers lost on Saturday at the Florida Panthers 5-4 in the dreaded shootout. Alexander Barkov nailed the winning shot in the tiebreaker, his fifth shootout score in six attempts this year.
It is hard to over-estimate the magnitude of the two wins over Tampa Bay this week. The Lightening currently lead the Atlantic Division, and certainly must be considered among the favorites to win the Stanley Cup this season. And yet Philadelphia absolutely dominated the first game, and was fairly dominant in the second game as well. It remains to be seen if the Flyers will make the playoffs, but there is no question, they are playing their best hockey right now. And all this while missing a key star player, Jakub Voracek.
A key component of the Flyer’s recent success has been the outstanding play of Shayne Gostisbehere. Now with 15 goals on the season, he has easily surpassed Behn Wilson’s Flyers rookie record of 13. So far in the NHL the second-highest scoring rookie defenseman is Colton Parayko of the St. Louis Blues who has only 7 goals (and that’s with 17 more games played than Gostisbehere).
There is not much bad stuff to be reported this past week, given the fact that the Flyers actually grabbed 5 out of a possible 6 very significant points against two very good opponents. In fact, I only have four negative words to offer this week and they come directly from the end of Saturday’s game: Another freaking shootout loss! I mean, really? I repeat – Another freaking shootout loss! Oh, and just few more words to add- Gagne and Cousins in the shootout? Really?
The Flyers begin this week only two points out of a playoff spot, with fifteen regular season games left to play (mostly against teams ahead of them in the standings). This week will feature epic battles with Detroit, Chicago, and Pittsburgh. If the Flyers are going to make the playoffs this year, it will certainly not be handed to them – they are going to have to really earn their spot over the next month or so. However, if they continue to play the caliber of hockey they are playing right now, we have every reason to believe that we will finally have a Philly team appearing in the postseason. Given the recent playoff drought of all four professional teams in town, that would be very sweet indeed!