After rising to #1 in the metropolitan division at the end of February, the Flyers are having a rough start to the month of March. After their six-game win streak, Philadelphia went 0-5 until snapping that streak with a win Saturday night against Winnipeg. Last season, the Flyers became the first team in NHL history to win 10 straight and fail to make the playoffs. This streaky nature needs to be addressed; yes, momentum seems to build rapidly when they win, but after a loss they seem to lose too much spirit.
On top of that, during that losing stretch, we failed to get some valuable division points against Pittsburgh Penguins, making us 0-3 against them this season. Beating the Penguins is a point of emphasis each year, and they need to come out on top in their final matchup down the stretch. Points such as these mean so much this time of year, and the Flyers need to look past their recent struggles and learn from them. Having a young core and head coach means there’s more room to grow and improve night in and night out. With teams right on the Flyers tail begging to jump into the metropolitan playoff picture, they need to find their rhythm sooner rather than later.
Yes, the Philadelphia Flyers are probably in the toughest division in hockey, but playoffs used to be a norm here in Philly and we need to get back to that trend. The Flyers have plenty of work to do before the playoffs, and hopefully having Wayne Simmonds return from injury will help that. His presence alone makes life easier for his teammates; expect his return to help guide the younger players and avoid another collapse. Players like he and Claude Giroux need to step up for the Flyers remain in the playoff picture.
What happened last season was utterly unacceptable, and if the Flyers somehow pull something of this nature off again, something needs to happen in the coaching staff and front office. I think they have the talent to finally play with the big guns in this league, and we have seen flashes of that this year. Coach Dave Haxstol needs to figure out what has caused some of the recent struggles to help them avoid situations such as these before they face a 7-game series. In the playoffs, you need to have a short memory. We seem to finally have the talent, we just need to become more consistent. If the Flyers can’t do that and miss the playoffs, they need to consider cleaning house.
By no means do I think our Flyers will collapse as horrid as last year, however, they are beginning to scare me. I know Flyers fans are dying to see these guys battle for a cup again, and home playoff games in Philadelphia are nothing short of astounding. I think they’ve finally figured most of it out with a few small details left to iron out. I wouldn’t hit the panic button just yet, tonight’s game against west leading Vegas Knights will say a lot about what to expect from this team for the rest of the regular season, and whether or not we should even bother watching.