With the Philadelphia Flyers’ bye week about to come to an end, it’s a perfect time to look back and reflect on the past 46 games of the season.
The Flyers’ 2016-17 season has been quite the roller coaster ride. Heading into this year, there were hopes of the Flyers taking that next step under Dave Hakstol after a successful first season behind the bench where he took an overachieving Flyers team to the playoffs on the heels of a 26-13-7 run to close out the year.
However, like last season, the Flyers stumbled out of the gate, hovered around the .500 mark and had trouble playing with the type of consistency needed to win on a regular basis. Then, from late November to mid-December, the Flyers began to click with the end result being a 10-game winning streak that propelled them into the elite ranks of the Eastern Conference. In doing so, the front office, fans and national media alike believe that this young Flyers team under the direction of Hakstol had officially arrived.
Sadly, the belief that this Flyers team on the rise had arrived was anything but fool’s gold. Since the winning streak, the Flyers have played some of the worst hockey in the NHL, going 3-8-2 over that span. Everything that had gone right for the Flyers during their 10-game run has went the complete opposite way.
The once-potent offense, which was ranked in the top three of the NHL for much of the season, has fallen drastically to 12th in the league. The defense that was beginning to come around on the back of rookie sensation Ivan Provorov has taken a drastic step back, now ranked 27th in team goals against.
However, perhaps the biggest drop off since the winning streak has been the consistency in goaltending. Steve Mason was playing like one of the best goaltenders in the league during the streak and had looked to have finally turned his game around after struggling to start the year. Yet, just like the rest of the team’s play during that amazing run, it was merely an aberration.
Turning It Around
The Flyers’ bye week may have very well come at the best possible timing for the team. With how dismal every aspect of their game has been over the past month, getting away from the game and forgetting about it all may be exactly what this squad needs at the moment. Getting a chance to rest up and hit the reset button for when the action continues Saturday, Jan. 21, at home against the New Jersey Devils.
It’ll be interesting to see where Hakstol goes with his lineup in their first game back from the bye. Hakstol, lately, has seemed to be picking lineup cards out of a hat and just hoping that they click. Some of his moves recently have been questionable, like the scratchings of Travis Konecny and Shayne Gostisbehere. To make things even harder on him, he now has somewhat of a goalie controversy on his hands. With the drop in Mason’s play of late and the return of Michal Neuvirth from injury, it’s anybody’s guess on who gets the call for tomorrow’s game.
Glen Stricker is a Temple University graduate with a degree in Media & Communication. He is the Lead Writer for the Philadelphia Flyers for The Hockey Writers as well as the social media coordinator and contributor for @PHLFlyersNation