The last few weeks have been one heck of a roller coaster for Wayne Simmonds and the Philadelphia Flyers.
They entered the month of April as one of the hottest teams in the entire NHL and proceeded to lose three huge games down the stretch. Luckily that didn’t end up coming back to haunt them.
One of the main reasons that didn’t come back to haunt them was because of the exceptional play of Simmonds.
Sometimes all you need is a little motivation, and Simmonds found it at the best possible time.
You might remember back a few weeks ago when the Flyers played the Columbus Blue Jackets, it was a game in which the Flyers relied heavily on goaltender Steve Mason, and led until the Blue Jackets scored two goals in the final minutes. They ultimately ended up losing in a shootout.
Columbus’ miraculous comeback came to fruition when Simmonds fired the puck down the ice toward the open net. He missed, it was called icing, and the Jackets went on to score off the ensuing face off. Looking back on it, it was a play where Simmonds could have skated the puck out of the zone.
At the time, it had the eerie look of a mistake that could end up seriously hurting the Flyers playoff chances.
But the man who made the mistake made up for it in the biggest way possible.
Simmonds went on to manage 10 points in the nine games that followed, including two multi-point games, two game-winning goals, and a goal that very well may have saved the Flyers’ playoff chances.
He then went on to play one of his best games of the season against the Pittsburgh Penguins, playing a critical role in finally getting the Flyers the postseason spot that they’ve yearned all season for.
If there was ever a time for him to get going, it is right now.
Flash back to two seasons ago when the Flyers found themselves in a heated series with the division rival New York Rangers. During the final five games of the regular season, Simmonds heated up with five points in those games. When the playoffs came around, Simmonds not only led the Flyers’ offensive charge, he stepped up to the plate big time when the Flyers were facing elimination, and netted a hat trick to send the series to a seventh game.
The Flyers are going to need him to continue to step up if they want to have a chance at beating the Washington Captials in the first round. The grit, heart, physicality and scoring sense that he brings to the table is unmatched by anyone else that wears the Orange and the Black.
Simmonds is getting hot at the right time, and come playoff time, you’re going to hear his name a lot. When he is at the top of his game, it’s very hard for opposing teams to lock him down, especially alongside Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek.
Featured Image was provided by Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers