Following Sunday’s 5-3 victory against the New York Rangers, the Philadelphia Flyers secured their sixth-straight win, putting them on one of the hottest streaks in the league. Their six-game streak currently leads the Eastern Conference and is tied for second overall with the Colorado Avalanche, trailing only behind the St. Louis Blues’ seven-game run.
This streak has led the Flyers to a record of 38-20-7 for a total of 83 points, only three points shy of the Washington Capitals’ 86 points and landing them second in the Metropolitan Division. With the team set to face the Capitals in Washington on Wednesday, the Flyers have the opportunity to secure a two-point win and place themselves only one point behind the division leaders.
Production seems to be at an all-time high for the Flyers right now, with players up and down the lineup contributing to the win streak. Over the last 6 games, 18 players, consisting of 6 defensemen and 12 forwards, have contributed to the total 77 points scored. Fifty-nine of those points were earned by forwards — Travis Konecny leads with 12 points, Jake Voracek in second with 9 points, and Kevin Hayes with 7.
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The defense has totaled 18 points, with Travis Sanheim and Matt Niskanen leading with four points apiece. On the back end, a young Carter Hart has played a strong game between the pipes with a record of 5-0 in his last five games played.
Of course, with such a hot streak comes the talk of playoffs and a legitimate run for the Stanley Cup. Within the last couple of weeks, the NHL and the fans have seen what many would consider an overnight change in the team. Discussion started with the possibility of a wild card spot, which quickly developed into a push for the number one seed in the Metropolitan Division. With such success in such a short amount of time, the Flyers have become the talk of the town. As of Monday, March 2, Money Puck placed the Flyers with the best odds of winning the Stanley Cup, listing them as holding a 12.7% chance. The most important question now is: can they maintain this level of play?
Going forward, point production should continue to increase. Veteran players such as Claude Giroux, Voracek, and Sean Couturier have established their presence in the game consistently, which is something that feeds into overall player performance. You can see this in the high levels of production from players like Scott Laughton, Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Michael Raffl, and not to mention Flyers’ new addition, Derek Grant.
Even the defensive core has found a new groove by running a six-man unit. This has allowed Robert Hagg and Philippe Myers to gain a lot of experience. As a result, the defense that was once considered young is now playing like full-blown veterans of the game. Such responsibility on both ends of the ice has allowed for goaltender Hart to have the most success.
In preparation for tonight’s game, the Flyers must focus on keeping a red-hot Alexander Ovechkin away from the net, who has tallied four goals in the last five games. This task is easier said than done. With the Capitals’ addition of Ilya Kovalchuk, the Flyers face one of the best offenses in the league.
Philadelphia needs to keep their aggressive style of play and force Washington to make mistakes all while staying out of the penalty box. The largest problems occur when the team lays off the gas and allows opponents to gain momentum. This was displayed in the overtime win against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the second game of the current winning streak.
Unfortunately, the Capitals are the type of team where if they gain an inch, it turns into a mile. The Flyers need to stick to their previous game plan and have all lines involved for a full team effort in order to pull off another win.
With 16 games remaining after tonight, the Flyers are going to be put to the test. Fortunate for them, nine of those games will be held at home where they hold a record of 23-5-4, with the biggest of these games being against the Boston Bruins and the St. Louis Blues. The remaining seven away games only hold two credible threats after the Capitals — the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Dallas Stars.
The Flyers’ road record signals problems — a staggering 15-15-3 prior to this evening’s match. In relation to the last six games, four of them were at home while only two were on the road. The team faced overtime in one of the two away games. However, if the team can win against Washington tonight, all signs point to the Flyers being the most dangerous team in the league right now.
Born in Pennsylvania and raised in Delaware, I grew up on hockey. From playing to watching, I’ve been involved since my early childhood. I’ve always been a Flyers fan, but having played the sport through my young adulthood I’ve gained appreciation for those who play the game the way it was intended, no matter the team.