As Series Comes Home, Perspective on Flyers Deficit in Series

The Flyers are two games deep into their first-round playoff series against the Washington Capitals and two losses away from the season ending as things head to Philadelphia on Monday night for Game 3.

To keep matters in perspective, many Flyers fans didn’t even think the team would make it as far as they have this season. General manager Ron Hextall did not make any deals at the trade deadline. He stood firm in his belief of keeping his players to bond and create a team that had a chance to make a playoff run. This is his philosophy and if fans bought into it or not, it is what it is at this point in the season.

Here are some things for fans to keep in mind with the Flyers season hanging in the balance.

They actually made the playoffs - It was Dave Hakstol’s first year as an NHL coach. Many did not know what to expect of him and his stoic facial expression. He made changes, the team bought into it and they were successful. No one was even expecting to get this far. It was only to be a building year as I recall. Take the playoff appearance for what it is: extra playing time with a team that became very likable in the stretch run.

Valuable experience for Flyers future - Shayne Gostisbehere, Nick Cousins and Scott Laughton are learning the ropes so to speak and they are doing a fair job keeping up with the other players on the team. The Capitals are the best team in the league and therefore can expose younger inexperienced players getting their first taste of the playoffs. Even if the series doesn't go the Flyers way, these young players are getting valuable playing time at a point in the season that was unexpected this season and will on benefit them in years to come.

Give credit where it's due to Brayden Schenn – He is playing the best he ever has in the stretch run of the season. Devotees must admit he is arguably the best player on the ice in the first two games. In Game 1 against the Capitals, he had seven hits, won five of 10 faceoffs, had one blocked shot, and two shots on goal. In Game 2, he had an assist and continued to do the little things to at least attempt to set up scoring chances. It's easy to get caught up in the lack of scoring in the two games, but one player doesn't make the team. Schenn has done his part.

More good from Gudas - Radko Gudas is another who is playing to win it in this series. The Capitals are a rough, physical team to play against, including Alex Ovechkin, who seems to be hitting just to do physical harm to Flyers players. Gudas had six shots, five on goal, in Game 1.

Steve Mason has remained on point – When Mason keeps his head in the game, he is on point. He needs acknowledgement that has played well the entire season, particularly in the final three weeks of the season when he had to endure a heavy workload. Mason essentially needs to outplay and outlast Braden Holtby, the likely Vezina Trophy winner this season. So he let in a bad goal to Jason Chimera. That is over and in the past. The Flyers lost Game 2 for plenty of reasons extending beyond that goal.

The series isn’t over yet – Even facing a 2-0 deficit, the Flyers are still not out of the game. Two games may have gone the wrong way for the Flyers, but, bad goal by Mason aside, the Flyers appeared to be the better team in Game 2. Facing Holtby is a challenge and the Flyers are getting chances. Returning to home ice for Game 3, the Flyers have a chance to ignite a home crowd and announce their presence in the series. With a tribute to their late founder and owner on tap prior to the game, remember the mantra of the playoff run: "Do It For Ed!"

Denise Mroz is a contributing writer for Flyerdelphia. Follow her on Twitter @denisemroz10.

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