The Flyers Week in Review for March 21. Your source for all things Orange and Black.
Philadelphia Flyers 2015-16 season:
Games – 70/Wins – 34/Losses – 24/OT Losses – 12/Points – 80
Repeat after me with a squeaky Jim Mora-like voice, “Playoffs? We’re talking playoffs?”
“Playoffs” has been a word uttered very disparagingly around here recently, as in “Great, one more stinking year without any playoffs!” The Eagles haven’t made them since 2013 and haven’t won a postseason game since the 2008 season. The Phillies last playoff game was back in 2011. The Sixers – please dude, don’t even get me started! And if the Flyers fall short again, it will be the third time in four years that they were on the outside looking in.
So with a fanbase starving for some genuine postseason excitement, the question for the rest of this season will be, can this gritty Flyers team actually do it? They came into this past week clearly playing their best hockey of the season, but still sitting slightly behind Detroit and Pittsburgh for the much-coveted final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race. This was a perfect setup for a very significant week with games against Detroit, Chicago, and Pittsburgh.
- The Wells Fargo Center was rocking on Tuesday when the Flyers played Detroit. The Orange and Black came out smoking in first period, outshooting the Red Wings 23-3. They then hung on to earn a hard-fought 4-3 victory and climbed within just one point out of a playoff berth. This game featured goals by Michael Raffl (2), Brayden Schenn, and Sam Gagner, as well as some clutch goaltending by Steve Mason.
- The team’s remarkable play continued Wednesday with a thrilling 3-2 win against a very talented Chicago Blackhawks squad. This was the kind of game where many NHL teams typically struggle. It was Philly’s second game in two consecutive nights, and it was on the road. Michal Neuvirth was brilliant in goal, and “sniper” Radko Gudas scored the game-winner. At this point, the Flyers had played five straight games against teams ahead of them in the standings, and had picked up nine out of a possible ten points. If this season would have ended Wednesday night, the Flyers would have been in the playoffs.
- All that being said, there had to be a letdown sometime. Unfortunately that letdown came Saturday against a team they are chasing – the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Flyers lost 4-1 and were dominated pretty much from start to finish. Philadelphia only had seventeen shots on goal the entire game, a season low. Even worse, coupled with a Detroit win, the Flyers were now three games back in the wildcard race.
What Does it All Mean?
As Marvin Lee Aday (you probably know him better as Meatloaf) once said, “Two outta three ain’t bad!” Or is it? When the regular season draws to a close, I believe we will look back on this past week and either remember it fondly as the Flyers’ springboard into the playoffs, or as the week when they just didn’t quite get it done. That assessment will ultimately depend on if they make the playoffs or just miss. Either outcome is possible, but “Two outta three” this past week unfortunately might just end up being what keeps the Flyers just “outta” the postseason.
The schedule for the rest of the regular season (which ends April 10) should also prove to be very challenging. Only twelve games remain – seven of those twelve are on the road and four of the twelve will be the second night of a back-to-back. Most games will be against quality opponents, including both the Red Wings and the Penguins. So you can be assured, if we are “talking playoffs” in a positive way come April 11th, the Flyers will have definitely earned their spot.