Welxome back to the Pod Street Preview!
After coming off of a semi-successful weekend against the Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres, Flyers fans were calling for a full-on yard sale ahead of Monday’s NHL Trade Deadline. After playing an all around great team game against the Bruins, the Flyers once again shot themselves in the foot when they met the even worse of a dumpster fire, the Buffalo Sabres.
Having given up two leads in the second and third period, many thought that the core that holds this team together would all be soon playing in different sweaters. To our surprise as fans, Chuck Fletcher was able to pull a couple of rabbits out of his hat and surprise Philadelphia fans everywhere with a couple of minor selling moves and a move to shore up the future of this team.
Fletcher’s first news came to be the signing centerman Scott Laughton to a five year, $15 million dollar extension. According to many league insiders, more than a few teams were interested in trading for Laughton, but Uncle Chuck had other ideas.
Fletcher made other moves as he dealt Erik Gustafson to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for a 2022 7th round draft pick as well as Michael Raffl to the Washington Capitals for a 2021 5th round draft pick. The Gustafsson trade had Flyers fans singing Chuck’s praises since we had been scratching our heads ever since his free agency signing.
The Flyers play as of late made Fletcher’s trade deadline decision pretty final, but he still believes the squad could fight for that last playoff position. Speaking of that last playoff position, let’s dive into this week’s games and see how the Flyers matchup against their opponents.
Michael Raffl and the Capitals?
It’s got a weird ring to it but it might be an awkward bus ride down to the nation’s capital this morning with Raffl’s recent trade less than 24 hours beforehand. With all that being said, I don’t believe Raffl will be inserted into the lineup since Fletcher hinted that #12 had been playing hurt for quite some time now. Regardless, I hope all the best to Raffl and hope that he doesn’t pot too many goals on us.
Like most teams this season, the Washington Capitals have had our number as we enter the fifth game of the series between these two teams. The Capitals have won three of the first four contests with Ovechkin tallying at least a goal in each contest. Like always, this team certainly has to stay out of the penalty box if they want to have any chance to win this game.
The young goaltender Ilya Samsonov has been lights out against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Orange and Black have had a hard time finding ways to get pucks in the net this season and against Samsonov especially. Maybe tomorrow and Saturday, the Flyers will have some spunk and find some ways to score some goals.
Ah Yes, Jeff Carter and the Penguins?
Man, this week just keeps getting weirder and weirder. On the eve of the NHL Trade Deadline, Ron Hextall traded for former Flyers winger Jeff Carter from the Los Angeles Kings for a pair of draft picks. The only familiar face from the Flyers for Carter would be current captain Claude Giroux. No bad blood, right? If you were a fan of the late 2000 Flyers, it’s going to be weird to see Jeff Carter in a Penguins jersey.
What seems like eons ago, the Flyers haven’t seen the Penguins since the beginning of March when they had a mini playoff series of three straight games. Since then, the Penguins have leap frogged the Flyers and are now sitting just two points behind the Islanders and Capitals for first place in the East Division.
The Flyers and Penguins games have been just as normal as they can be. Plenty of goals, big hits and lots of penalty minutes to go around. Expect this week’s game to not be any different as the Flyers are crawling themselves out of the hole for that fourth playoff spot, especially if that little gremlin Mark Friedman is in the lineup.
Oh Yay, The Freaking Islanders
Ever since the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Flyers and Islanders remain to be some of the best hockey games to watch. They are filled with speed and great team play. With each game played this season, five of those seven have been decided in overtime or a shootout.
The Flyers are currently holding a 3-1-3 record against the Islanders this season, which to be honest, is probably the best they have played against any of the East Division teams. Like stated before, there hasn’t been a game between the Flyers and Islanders that hasn’t been bad.
As with any team that is in the hunt for the Stanley Cup, the New York Islanders added a couple of pieces to help them get there. The recent acquisitions of Kyle Palmieri, Travis Zajac and Braydon Coburn has the Islanders feeling refreshed with some new faces. And would you look at that, another ex-Flyer comes back to haunt us.
Looks like this team is going to be haunted by the ghosts of Philadelphia’s past this week. Regardless of those old faces, the Flyers need to start playing some better hockey if they would like any shot at the playoffs. With Chuck’s recent moves at the NHL Trade Deadline, he made it pretty clear that it wasn’t worth bringing in any rentals for this season to try and make a push for the playoffs.
Between the Capitals, Penguins and Islanders, our Philadelphia Flyers most certainly have their hands full this week against the top three seeded teams in the East Division. Prepare for another week of pain or glory Flyers fans. It’ll be a rough end to the season for us.
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Photo Credit – Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire