By Matt Mastrogiovanni, Sports Talk Philly staff writer
The NHL's Western Conference has no shortage of talent. In the first three games of the season, the Flyers have learned that lesson once again.
However, with a 2-1-0 start on one of the toughest road trips of the year, the Flyers' success early on the road can actually be beneficial in the long run.
Philadelphia ends their first road trip of the year against Nashville on Tuesday night before coming back home to the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday. So far, the Flyers' success on the road has been a pleasant surprise to fans.
In the season opener, Philadelphia downed San Jose, 5-3, mainly thanks to a Wayne Simmonds hat trick, the second of his career. The Flyers looked sharp in the win and their more energetic skating stood out.
The Flyers continued their SoCal travels, falling to the Kings in Los Angeles, but then bouncing back for an overtime win against the Ducks in Anaheim two nights later. Again, Simmonds played hero scoring the game-winning goal in the extra frame.
Now, the Flyers face the defending Western Conference Champions, the Nashville Predators, in the final installment of what has to be one the toughest starts to a schedule in the NHL. In facing three powerhouse opponents already, it seems as if the Flyers know what they're up against.
If the Flyers could beat Nashville, they would return home with a 3-1 record and a whole mess of momentum. Their next six out of eight games after Tuesday night are at the Wells Fargo Center. A nice, long homestand after a majority successful road start could keep the team rolling.
For a team that struggled on the road while being more competitive on home ice, a start like that on the road would certainly turn some heads around the league. The Flyers have spoken of playoff hopes and goals, and success on the road will be a crucial part of making any return to the postseason.
The 2-1 start is already a good one, with the potential to cap it off in Nashville with a bang. If the effort continues to show, then things could get even better as the season progress. And a good start with a tough schedule on the road could spell a rolling start at home.
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