It has been a week of firsts for the Flyers. Saturday’s win over the New York Islanders, combined with last Thursday’s win over the struggling New York Rangers, gave the Flyers their first winning streak of the season. Saturday also marked the first time this season that the team has recorded more than two goals in a game, as well as the first hat trick, recorded by big free agent signing, Vincent Lecavalier, who has given the organization a glimpse into why he will play such an integral role in just how far this team will go this season.
It all began with a six day break that allowed Craig Berube to have a mini camp of sorts that allowed his misguided franchise time to digest a new system. Six days to hold “up tempo” practices that will allow the Flyers to get better conditioned and be able to compete at the NHL level for 60 minutes, something that has been lacking from this franchise dating back to before the lockout.
Thursday’s win against the Rangers had its flaws, but they were born out of human nature. It’s easy for a struggling team that finally has a lead in the third period to clam up and try to hang on for the win. They did, and Saturday, on the Island, they found the switch and pressured the Islanders, finally able to put a team away and carrying the play for three periods.
It’s no coincidence that the Flyers looked better on Saturday. This is a team that is not just learning a new system. They are a team trying to shift away from what is a disturbing trend, which can’t be done overnight. That was evidenced by Tuesday’s loss against Anaheim. An opening period that saw the Flyers play their best 20 minutes to date, spiraled into a 3-2 loss because the Flyers became a turnover machine and just stopped skating. What’s different now is that the errors are duly noted. There are no more excuses. Players are holding each other accountable. Even though it ended in a loss, this is the first week of the season with a winning record.
There’s a long way to go and the next week sees the Flyers welcome an old/new division rival to town when the Caps come in on Friday night. You could say that the Flyers will have their hands full with Alex Ovechkin, but, with the way Sean Couturier has been playing, it might be the Russian Sniper who will struggle to find open ice. After that, it’s a road date in North Jersey for a match up with a Devils team that, no matter how much they are struggling, seem to play the Flyers tough. The Flyers close out the week with a trip to Carolina. If they play the way the did this past Saturday in New York, the Flyers could easily start climbing in the standings this week. Consistency will take time. This past week has shown that the Flyers may be trending toward their potential. If they can win two out of every three games they will be in very good shape by the season’s end.
On The Fly:
- With their five goal outburst on Saturday night against the Islanders, the Flyers avoided being the first team since the 1944 New York Americans to go the first ten games without scoring more than two goals in a game.
- The Sean Couturier/Matt Read/ Wayne Simmonds line has been outstanding since the six day break. They have been the Flyers best line in the past week.
- Vincent Lecavalier has four goals in two games since his return from a lower body injury
- Lost in the Flyers slow start has been the stellar play of goalie, Steve Mason. His .928 Save Percentage and 2.25 GAA has kept the Flyers in many games where the team in front of him had stopped playing.