December 2nd came around, and the Philadelphia Flyers season looked much like the same team of years past. That was the night where they would lose their tenth straight game and doubts began to arise. Fast-forward to March 9, the Philadelphia Flyers, are now in very serious contention to take the Metropolitan Division.
Philadelphia is currently at 34-23-11 with 79 points.
How have they been so successful, so quietly?
Led by Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek and Sean Couturier, the Flyers have turned it up a notch scoring the puck. Giroux leads the team in points with 80, followed by Vorachek with 73 and then Courtier with 63.
Voracek this goal out pic.twitter.com/s37UJ0U5FV
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) January 24, 2018
In addition to those three, the Flyers also have 11 skaters that have scored 10 goals this season. The all-around scoring is what sets them apart from the rest of league, as they are getting scoring on almost all of their lines. Of those 11 skaters, two are on the blue-line.
This season has been a surprise to many, even the Flyers.
#Flyers captain Claude Giroux says he would think you were "crazy" if you told him the Flyers would be fighting for 1st place back in December
— Jeff Skversky 6abc (@JeffSkversky) February 28, 2018
This is honestly the tool to their success. They have been underestimated and counted out for most of this season, strictly due to that unfortunate 10-game skid in the opening weeks of the season.
There’s still only one problem…
One key hiccup this season has come from injuries.
With losing two straight starting goaltenders. Both Brian Elliott and Michael Neuvirth going down in back-to-back weeks was certainly not what they had in mind after the all-star break. Wayne Simmonds is another guy that has caught the injury bug, with going out with an upper-body injury. He will be sidelined for another two weeks.
— FanSided NHL (@FanSidedNHL) February 14, 2018
Philadelphia #Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds will be out 2-3 weeks with an upper-body injury, while goaltender Michal Neuvirth will be out 4-6 weeks with a lower-body injury. pic.twitter.com/e89MSrY7dt
— Action News on 6abc (@6abc) February 20, 2018
Currently in net, is Petr Mrazek. Acquired from the Detroit Red Wings for two draft picks, a third in 2018 and fourth in 2019. He has performed well since coming over Philadelphia, holding a 3-3-1 record in his seven starts. Mrazek has only allowed 22 goals in those four starts and stopped the puck .889 of the time.
Can the Flyers keep up with the other heavy hitters of the Metro?
After the Trade Deadline, a lot of pieces were pushed around the Metro, Pittsburgh obtained Derick Brassard from the Ottawa Senators and Washington got Michal Kempny. Even the New Jersey Devils, who are sitting closely behind the top-three teams at 74 points, picked up both Michael Grabner and Patrick Maroon.
With all of these moves, the Flyers really only were able to acquire a loan of a goaltender until their number one and two come back from injury. Once everyone is healthy, which could be around the start of the playoffs in April, it will be pick-and-choose for Flyers coach Dave Hakstol.
Of the 16 remaining games, Philadelphia has two more matchups with Pittsburgh and once more with Washington. Those games will have a playoff atmosphere to them and are must wins.