Flyers Recent Success Overshadowing Looming Struggles


(Photo: Kate Frese)

By Matt Mastrogiovanni, Sports Talk Philly staff writer 

The Philadelphia Flyers are riding high right now. With a 5-0-1 record in their last six games, including Saturday's statement 4-0 victory against Chicago, the team seems to have found their mojo after a rocky start to the season. All things are pointing in the right direction for the Flyers.

However, does it seem too good to be true?

After a dismal loss to the New York Islanders, Philadelphia was at a crossroads going into their Western Conference road trip. Four games out West came with heavy stakes for coaching staff, players and possibly management. The fate of the remaining season was hanging in the balance.

Luckily, picking up three wins and obtaining seven out of a possible eight points in the standings gave the team some life. However, could that transfer to home ice?

So far for the Flyers, that western success has come to home ice.

On Thursday, the team wrapped up a home-and-home with the Arizona Coyotes. A hot start by Philadelphia turned sour when the Coyotes took a two-goal lead thanks to two shorthanded goals on the same power play and a flat second period.

Surprisingly, the Flyers mustered the ability to come back and tie the game — something they'd been struggling with for most of the season. Dale Weise knotted the score with just over two minutes left in regulation followed by Shayne Gostisbehere's overtime winner.

Saturday saw what may have been the best outing of the Flyers season to date. Captain Claude Giroux led his team to a well-rounded 4-0 win with three points. Sean Couturier posted a three-point game as well, potting two goals and assisting on one. Goaltender Brian Elliott played one of his best games in the Orange and Black, stopping all 33 shots he faced.

Philadelphia has grabbed points in their last six straight games. Also, Saturday was their sixth game in a row scoring first after allowing the opening goal in 10 of the first 11 games of the season. It was also the first time the Flyers had not allowed a power play goal in 10 games.

With all the good that's come from their recent success, there is still work to be done, mainly on special teams.

The Flyers power play has had its struggles in the midst of all the success. Since the beginning of the month, the team is 1-for-14 on the man advantage, scoring in their game against Arizona on Nov. 5.

On the penalty kill side, things haven't been much better. Even with a six-game points streak, the Flyers have allowed a power-play goal in five of six games on that stretch. At 70.5 percent, the team's penalty kill is just above the Ottawa Senators for worst in the NHL. With respect to both parts of Philadelphia's special teams, things need to improve.

As of now, things are mostly pointing in the right direction for the Flyers. A three-game win streak and a six-game point streak have them flying high. However, struggling special teams are still weighing the full potential of their play down.

With three games left in their homestand as well as many games left in the season, the Flyers still seem to be teetering on the edge of continued success or regression to where they were just a couple weeks ago, even if the results have turned for the better of late.

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