To say that this upcoming week will define the Flyers’ season would be an understatement.
The Flyers are coming off the All-Star break after beating the best team in the NHL in overtime in what was a very good game. Winning that game also meant that the Flyers snapped a three game losing. That losing streak included two losses in the waning minutes of the game and an early two-goal lead that had fizzled away by the end of the second period against a division rival.
Sense a trend? Inconsistency.
It’s been the story of the Flyers season so far.
They’ll come out flying against some of the best teams in the league. But they’ll come out flat against some of the NHL’s basement dwellers. That has to change.
This upcoming stretch of games is going to tell you whether this team will find themselves in the postseason or find themselves as a legitimate contender in the Auston Matthews sweepstakes.
Despite being five points out of a wildcard spot, the Flyers still have games at hand on every team that is in the hunt with them. They also have three more games against the Penguins, who hold the final wildcard spot.
The Flyers open the week against Montreal on Tuesday night. The Habs sit two points ahead of the Flyers yet the Orange and Black still have three games at hand, I don’t need to mention how important that game is.
They then travel to Nashville to face the Predators and set themselves up for a huge weekend against the New York Rangers on Saturday and the Washington Capitals on Sunday.
To stay in the hunt for the wildcard, the team is going to need to win at least three of those four. If they do that, they will set themselves up very nicely considering all of the teams that sit ahead of them.
Because there’s 3 players in white (Couturier being one of them) and extras on other lines, I’d bet Couturier plays tomorrow.
— Dave Isaac (@davegisaac) February 1, 2016
The team also got more good news on Monday, as it appears Sean Couturier may be ready to go against Montreal. That’s a critical piece considering the Flyers have struggled without one of the more important pieces of the team thus far.
All of this may be taken for granted, because at the start of this season no one really expected this team to even be anywhere near a playoff spot in the East. For all we knew they were in rebuilding mode. However, we are now a little bit past the midway point of the season and the Flyers are very much in the hunt for the playoffs.
This is an eight point week against some very good teams, if the Flyers can play well they will be right back in the thick of things, and in a very good spot going forward.
Matt is a contributor for the Philadelphia Flyers at The Hockey Writers. He has previously covered the Flyers for GrandstandU. He enjoys playing hockey and making music in his spare time.