Flyers Season in Review: April Ends it All

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 players’ performances. Over the next couple of weeks, THW 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.

The Playoff Push

A slow month of March put the Flyers in the first wild-card spot and only six points ahead of the Florida Panthers as the last month began. They had only four games left to secure their spot in the quest for the Stanley Cup.

The first game of the month had an unpromising start after the Flyers blew a 5-3 third period lead to the Boston Bruins, who scored to tie the game with 3.8 seconds to go. Who else but Claude Giroux to the rescue, as he scored his second of the game in overtime to start the month off with a victory.

Moment of the Month

The Flyers split their next two games, a loss to the New York Islanders and a victory over the Carolina Hurricanes, to set up a “win-and-get-in” game against the New York Rangers.
This game was less dramatic than the 2010 shootout victory over the Rangers as Giroux recorded his first regular-season hat trick to break through the 100-point barrier and put the Flyers into the postseason.

Claude Giroux Henrik Lundqvist
Philadelphia Flyers Captain Claude Giroux scores a hat trick on New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist during the final game of the Flyers 2017-18 season, Apr. 7, 2018. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Giroux became the first Flyer since Eric Lindros in 1996 to record a 100-point season, and just the sixth to do so overall. Giroux concluded the season on a five-game goal streak and a 10-game point streak.

Brian Elliott returned after missing 25 games and undergoing core muscle surgery, to win the last two games of the season, including his first shutout with the Flyers in the season finale win over the Rangers. Overall, the netminder finished with a 23-11-7 record with a 2.66 goals-against average and .909 save percentage in his first season with Philadelphia.

The Numbers Don’t Lie

The numbers didn’t lie as to why the Flyers playoffs only lasted six games against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The 28 goals against was a franchise record for a six-game series and tied the record for most in any series.

Special teams were not special at all. They only scored two power-play goals in 21 tries on the man advantage, including a 0-for-13 clip at home. The horrific penalty kill gave up five goals on 25 attempts, killing only eight of 12 penalties at home. In the Dave Hakstol era, the Flyers have struggled on home ice in the postseason, including an 0-3 record against the Pens. In two postseasons, they have a 1-5 home record and have been outscored 26-9, outshot 172-162, and the power play is just 1-for-23 over that span.

Matt Murray Penguins Claude Giroux Flyers
Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray blocks a shot against Philadelphia Flyers center Claude Giroux. (Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)

Sean Couturier was the lone bright spot, putting up nine points (five goals, four assists) while playing in only five games. He missed one game and played two more on a torn ACL, an injury he received in practice on a hit by teammate Radko Gudas.

The Flyers season cannot be judged by four bad games, but in the positive moment that re-enforced Ron Hextall’s build-from-within strategy. The growth of young players like Couturier, Travis Konency, Nolan Patrick, Oskar Lindblom, Ivan Provorov and Shayne Gostisbehere is what to look at, not to mention the resurgence of Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek as dominant scorers. As the book closes on the 2017-18 Philadelphia Flyers, it is now time to get excited for the potential of the 2018-19 season.