Despite Mixed Results, Flyers Starting to Play with Passion Again

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

The Flyers first four games on the 2017-18 season were against Western Conference opponents. To say it was a wild west trip is an understatement.

The Flyers escaped the trip with a 2-2-0 record. Mixed results, but with solid performances by the eye test at the very least. Still, the results, particularly Tuesday night's in Nashville, made it hard to take.

But don't overlook the level on play, the speed on the ice that is finally present, and the passion both on and off the ice that has been long awaited.

It's only four games, but you just get the sense that these Flyers are different, and it's only the beginning for them.

Let's look closer at the loss in Nashville. As a whole, it wasn't a good game in net from Brian Elliott. It wasn't that great of a game for the top line at even strength. It was an actually solid game from almost the entire rest of the group — even Andrew MacDonald and Dale Weise — until the final four minutes.

You knew this game, like the previous three before it, was going to be a dogfight. This was of the high-scoring variety. The Flyers had some bad luck situations turn a 1-0 deficit and a solid first period on the road into a 3-0 deficit.

They rallied. Then the took the lead in the third. And then it all came crashing down thanks to two penalties by the two most-maligned skaters on the team and the head coach making a decision where the risk far outweighed the reward.

After the game, the Flyers locker room was understandably frustrated, but on a level really not seen in some time.

You know what that it? Passion.

That's a passion that has not been seen in this team in some time. You want to see players who care, not because the result didn't go their way, but because the effort didn't justify the result.

That was Tuesday's game. The effort was there. The rally showed the character of the team. And it was all squandered away with two penalties at a crucial time and a coach's challenge that never should have been. To battle for 57 minutes to have the final three erase everything you worked for is beyond frustrating.

It's too early to start pointing fingers and marking the fourth game of the season down as the one (or two) points that could cost the Flyers a playoff spot, even if points at any point of the season prove costly. What it is not too early to do is look at this team's speed, the improvements to the four lines as a whole, and the energy and effort they have displayed in the first four games and not be mildly impressed with the results.

Every game has been competitive. For a team with so much youth, that's really all you can ask for at this point.

The Flyers will have their chance against the Predators again next week. They get a high-flying, scoring machine in the Washington Capitals on Saturday in their home opener, the first of five straight games on home ice.

This team proved it can be better on the road in their first four games of the season. Now it's time for them to channel that into worthy performances for the home fans.


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