In a week that saw many crazy happenings, the Flyers still found themselves sitting outside of the East Division’s playoff picture. From placing Shayne Gostisbehere on waivers to losing 6-1 to the Buffalo Sabres and signing defenseman Cam York to his Entry-Level Contract, the Flyers are looking to put the past week behind them. Rightly so, due to their jam action-packed upcoming week.
If there was ever a week that could find the Flyers sitting a playoff spot or have the doors closed on them, this is going to be it. With three games against the Boston Bruins, who currently hold the fourth and final playoff spot, those potential six points could also determine whether or not Chuck Fletcher becomes a seller of a buyer at the NHL Trade Deadline on April 12th.
Battle For Fourth Place
The Boston Bruins have not been kind to the Philadelphia Flyers this season. And, of course, the Broad Street Bullies need to find a way to collect four of the six points available in this week’s series. Currently trailing the Bruins by four points, the three-game series could be the season’s deciding factor on whether we will be seeing playoff hockey in Philadelphia or hitting the greens come May.
With Boston having won the first five games of their series, expect the Flyers to come out with some fire under their butts in hopes of not getting swept. With Carter Hart’s much-needed break, his goaltending in the Islanders game reminded me of his dominant play. Of course, the goals were due to the defenseman leaving him out to dry, but his confidence is trending in the right way.
According to Conor Ryan of the Boston Sports Journal, Bruins winger Jake Debrusk has been cleared off of the Covid-19 protocol list. We can imagine seeing Debrusk in the second half of the back-to-back against the Flyers – we all know how well players do after they get no skating time before games.
Bring On More New York Hockey
In the latter half of the week, the Flyers will face the New York Islanders and Buffalo Sabres. These teams are no stranger to the Flyers, as they just finished playing them the week prior. The Flyers should carry a short memory and put both previous games between the Sabres and Islanders in the rearview as they get another crack at them.
I said it last week, and I’ll repeat it this week, the Flyers and Islanders games are slowly becoming a good matchup as they get going. In the last game, we saw a Sam Morin fight early on in the first period, and we all witnessed Claude Giroux put this team on his back to tie the game in the third period. The Islanders are no longer that boring team to watch anymore, and Barry Trotz has made that known to the league. This week’s game is another important two points as the Flyers continue to scramble up the standings.
On the other hand, the Sabers have become just as infuriating as our very own Philadelphia Flyers, except the Flyers have been able to win more games. On one night, the Sabres choke up a 3-0 lead, and the next; they score six goals to beat the Flyers 6-1. With the dumpster fire that Buffalo has been this year, everyone is just as confused when the Sabres can come away with a win. The Flyers should know by now to take Buffalo seriously.
Keys To A Successful Week
- Keep Carter Hart’s confidence streaming in the right way. On Saturday’s night game against the New York Islanders, his play was consistent, and he was able to track pucks well. As long as the defense in front of him allows him to see pucks, Carter Hart will do just fine against the Bruins and Islanders’ stacked offenses.
- Vigneault and company need to figure out what is wrong with the special team. Between the powerplay not scoring and the penalty kill allowing goals, the Flyers’ special team play has been abysmal to watch. To score goals on the powerplay, you need to shoot a little more, which is exactly what the first and second units aren’t doing. The penalty kill units bring me to my next key.
- STOP TAKING STUPID PENALTIES. There were too many times in the Islanders’ game on Saturday that players such as Provorov, van Riemsdyk and Morin would take mind-boggling penalties. The blatant interferences and stupid roughing calls need to be more disciplined, especially when playing against Boston and the Islanders. Time to clean it up.
Going into this week is seriously going to make or break the Philadelphia Flyers season. Each point in these five games matters. Staying out of overtime and winning games in regulation time is the most important factor for this Flyers team – especially against the Boston Bruins. We sure are in for a treat this week as we have five games in seven days. Soak it all in while we can, because who knows where this team might come May.
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire