The 2017-18 Philadelphia Flyers season was a roller-coaster ride that ended with their second postseason berth in the last three years. The season was filled with great moments, goals, saves and player performances. Over the next couple of weeks, The Hockey Writers will take a deep look at each month of action. We will break down what happened in a specific month and what it meant to the season and the future of the franchise.
One Streak Ends, Another One Begins
December started with a 3-0 loss to the Boston Bruins, the Flyers’ 10th straight game without a win. This loss dropped them to a tie for the third-worst points in the NHL (23) at the time. This was also the team’s sixth shutout loss of the season through 26 games. However, the Flyers would go the rest of the regular season without being shut out.
A Western Canadian trip is just what the doctor ordered for the struggling Flyers. They won three-straight games against the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, and Vancouver Canucks to end the winless streak in style. They outscored their opponents 13 to five and Jakub Voracek had seven assists in three games. Michael Raffl was clutch on the trip, scoring the game-winning goal in all three games—his only three GWGs all season.
Moment of the Month
The winning streak continued when they returned home with wins over the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres. The next home game, on Dec. 16 against the Dallas Stars, brings us to the moment of the month.
The Stars took an early lead but in the second period. Then, with the Flyers on the power play, Shayne Gostisbehere tied the game on a great diving play. The teams traded some grade-A chances, but both goalies were up to the task as the game would require extra time. In overtime, Tyler Seguin hit the crossbar, almost ending the Flyers’ winning streak. Alex Radulov then took an offensive-zone hooking penalty on Valtteri Filppula, setting up their sixth and last power play.
On the man-advantage, the relentless Flyers attack caused Ben Bishop to lose his stick and Jakub Voracek found “Ghost” for the game-winner and extended the win streak to six games.
The victory ended Philadelphia’s seven-game losing streak in games that went past regulation (0-5 in overtime; 0-2 in the shootout). The Flyers became just the third team in NHL history to follow up a winless streak of 10 games or more with a winning streak of six games or more.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
Philadelphia ended the month with an 8-4-1 record. Their 17 points during the month were the second most this season (22 points in February). Giroux had a seven-game assist streak from Dec. 16 to Dec. 29 where he totaled 12 assists. The captain had 18 points in the 12 games played in December. He was also given new linemates on Dec. 26, playing with Sean Couturier and Travis Konecny, who combined to score 68 points (outscoring their opponents 33-19) the rest of the season and a ended up being big reason they made the playoffs.
Gostisbehere (four power-play goals) and Wayne Simmonds each had five goals to pace the team. Simmonds, who fought off injuries all season, had 12 goals in the first 38 games thru December. He would follow that up with only 12 games in the remaining 37 games he played after Dec.
Michal Neuvirth was out with a lower-body injury, so Brian Elliott started all 13 games during the month. His 13 games started were the most in a month since April 2013 with the St. Louis Blues. He stopped 355 of the 383 shots he faced, which was good for a 2.15 goals-against average and .927 save percentage.