Most would say the Flyers have started the season off shaky. They have lost twice by a score of 6-1 only seven games into the season. Ouch.
But, those happen to be their only regulation losses. Their record now sits at 4-2-1 after defeating a team who’s looked good to start the season, the New Jersey Devils.
An interesting start to a season that has barely seen Sean Couturier, and has also seen Phil Myers miss time due to injury. At face value, our record would dictate that we have been playing strong hockey. However, the fact is the Flyers have struggled exiting their defensive zone for a majority of the season so far. This has resulted in them being outshot by quite a margin, reminiscent of Flyers teams from a few years ago.
Players such as new addition Erik Gustafsson have been on the receiving end of criticism regarding d-zone play. Flyers #1 defenseman Ivan Provorov was beaten on a delayed icing and took a poor penalty himself last night. It would be fair to say this rustiness could be due to a shortened camp; reasons aside, this team knows it can and needs to play better more consistently.
The first 7 games of this season haven’t been filled with just negative play. James van Riemsdyk has been playing like a man possessed around the net this season, scoring 5 goals in 7 games so far. He nabbed two PP goals against New Jersey last night and was a huge factor in the win.
Winger Jake Voracek’s play has also stood out to me so far; he looks really motivated and his passing has been in form this season. He’s had a few of his classic turnovers in a bad spot that lead to an opposing odd-man rush, but overall, there should be no complaints about his play.
Shayne Gostisbehere made his debut against the Devils last night after missing time due to COVID. Minus one poor flip attempt out of the zone that became a turnover, I thought he played well and deserves to play again tomorrow.
The Flyers still don’t have to worry about their goaltending situation. Carter Hart wasn’t a happy goalie after their 6-1 defeat to the Boston Bruins, but his play throughout these first 7 contests has really helped this team stay in games; don’t let his save percentage (currently hovering around .880) fool you.
Backup goaltender Brian Elliot has also been sharp in both of his starts. The man known as “Moose” shut out the Sabres in his first start and is currently posting a SV% of .938.
After a hard-fought win to open this two-game series, the Flyers are currently sitting in 3rd place in the East Division. They are tied with Boston and Pittsburgh, all sitting at 9 points. This division is most likely going to go down to the wire in a few months, and the Flyers can’t afford to stay at this level of play if they hope to contend.
Watch the Flyers face the Devils tomorrow night at 7:00PM to finish off the series.