Flyers’ Schedule Only Gets Tougher

BriereCB Is Danny Briere returning to form after his post-All Star Game slump?

The Flyers lost to the tenth-place Atlanta Thrashers in a shootout last night. The question I asked myself after the game was, "Did the Flyers steal a point in Atlanta by tying the game late, or piss away another perfectly good opportunity to grab two points against a mediocre team?"

The problem is that most Flyers fans have been asking themselves similar questions  all too often since the All Star break. It's also concerning that the Flyers aren't piling up the points to secure the top spot in the conference against weaker opponents.

Since the Flyers win against Tampa Bay (who was second in the conference at the time but has since fallen to fifth) on February 15th, the Flyers opponents have been: Florida (twice), Carolina, New York Rangers (twice) , Coyotes, Islanders, Senators, Leafs (twice), Sabres, Oilers, Atlanta (twice). Out of the 14 games, the Flyers only won 6 of them. Even more concerning: Except for the Coyotes in the West, all of these teams are on 7th or worse in their respective conferences, and only two of these teams will squeeze into the playoffs.

If the Flyers can't beat teams who will be playing golf in April instead of playing playoff hockey, how can they win the Stanley Cup? Some will argue that the Flyers are simply playing more desperate teams, and that the Flyers aren't motivated since grabbing first place in the conference on January 4th and maintaining a weak grip.

Flyers fans can only hope that this is the case. If this theory is true, then the Flyers should play better to close out the season. Instead of playing cellar-dwellers, the Flyers close out the season with a huge game against Washington on Tuesday, 2 games against Pittsburgh, a home game versus Boston, and a match against the red-hot Jersey Devils. Maybe in the previous 14 games, the points were simply a luxury and not a necessity. But with the Capitals and Penguins oh-so-close to overthrowing the Flyers' reign, these points are necessities for a deep playoff run.

If the Flyers weren't desperate before, they should be now. With games against stronger opponents and rivals to close out the season, the Flyers have a chance to show their true colors. Will they show up now that it matters?

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9 Responses

  1. I believe that the Flyers play the Islanders twice, and the Devils only once. Islanders are still a hot team though.

  2. Boosh had a bad night. That first goal and that one SO goal (not the Schremp one) should have been easy saves.
    Sometimes I get the feeling he’s just looking old, slow, and tired out there, even though he played a good game Tuesday night against the Kittens.
    I’m not sure it would have been wise to give Bobs last night off even with what happened the last time the Flyers and the Mockingbirds met. (Maybe he’s getting rest for the tough matchups ahead?) That time was a defensive zone brainfart by the other 5 skaters during the 3rd in last Sat’s game.
    Their entire downward spiral this last month and some has been their slacking off and getting careless in their own zone. I’ve seen every player getting stupid to some degree in the home zone. Stupid turnovers and a young team with speedy guys like the Thrashers will pounce.

  3. Leo, that’s what I mean, the laziness in the D-zone stems from the lack of motivation from being king-of-the-hill all season long.
    And yes, even teams with no play-off shot play balls-out this time of year, cause they having nothing to lose if they don’t get points. The players on those times just want to improve their stats and their salary potential.

  4. Flyers cant win the stanley cup dummy….theyll be joining the golf playing teams after the first round!!!

  5. In terms of turnovers and sloppy play in the defensive zone, the Flyers really need Pronger back. His outlet passes are usually spot-on, and it means both O’Donnell and Boynton (or Gustafsson) don’t have to play.

  6. Adam, let’s hope so. I know Pronger will step-it-up come playoffs, but he’s been looking slower, older, and more tired in some of the games he even played before he hurt his hand. And even after he came back from hurting his hand for the few games he played he looked slow. Hurting your hand shouldn’t affect your ability to skate. Yes, I know he’s never been speedy, but he looked slower than usual. I wonder if that “lower body injury” he had back in December is still a factor, and the Flyers Mgmt don’t want to bring it to light.
    But they did a whole lot better in their own zone this time against the Stars, despite a few times that led to the goals (the Stars were relentless). And Bobs made some spectacular saves, stepping his game up a notch. Maybe he’s hungering for that playoff spot. But who really has the “Eye of the Tiger” when it comes to minding the net? I don’t envy Laviolette in his decision.

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