The Professional men’s hockey team, The Philadelphia Flyers, are preparing to make a playoff run in the last few games of the season. By this point, every Flyers fan knows that this season has been a roller coaster of emotions. From the firing of Hak’ and Hek’ and the hiring of Chuck Fletcher, to the experimentation of young players and the promotion of soon to be calder hart winner Carter Hart, this season has been a wild ride. Just five points out of a playoff spot, the Philadelphia Flyers (34-27-8) are still able see a glimpse of hope at the end of the tunnel. While not out yet, the Flyers are somehow still in the playoff race and, like last year, are able to somewhat dictate their own destiny. For my first article for Brotherly Puck, I would like to dive into the Flyers next few games of the 2018-2019 season.
On the 14th, The Flyers play the Washington Capitals (41-22-7). First place in the Metro, the Caps’ are 8-2-0 in the last ten. Washington is led by some of the best players in the league. Alex Ovechkin (46 G-32 A) leads the league in goals and is one of the most skilled players to ever play the game. With an ensemble cast of skilled players including Nicklas Backstrom (18 G-49 A), John Carlson (11 G-50 A), Evgeny Kuznetsov (17 G-43 A), and T.J Oshie (21 G-23 A). The Capitals are dangerous, and for the Flyers to beat them, they need to play a passing game with no mistakes and no turnovers.
One day later, Philly plays the Toronto Maple Leafs. Probably the hardest team Philadelphia play in the last stretch, the Leafs are stacked with young and old talent. Youngsters like Mitch Marner (24 G 58A), Morgan Rielly (18 G 47 A), Auston Matthews (31 G-30 A), and Kasperi Kapanen (19-23) use their speed and talent to blow by teams. Veterans like John Tavares (38 G 38 A), Nazem Kadri (15-22), and Patrick Marleau (14 G-21 A) use their knowledge and power to drive through opposing defenses. This game will be a very hard win. If the Flyers have a ‘Classic’ slow start, there will be no chance of getting two points.
On Tuesday, March 17th, the Fly’ Guys go head to head with the Pittsburgh Penguins (38-23-9). The last time the Battle of Pennsylvania happened, the Flyers shut down the Guins’ in the stadium series game. Like the Leafs and Capitals, the Penguins are a highly skilled team. Crosby (33 G-57 A), Kessel (23 G-47 A), and Geno (21 G-49 A) lead the team with 90, 70, and 70 points. Pittsburgh is only four points behind the first place team in the Metro. I believe the Flyers can beat the Penguins. The key to winning this game: play physical and play with speed.
The Flyers have had a tough season and need to fight hard if they want to make one of the biggest comebacks in NHL history. In my honest opinion, I do not think the Flyers will make the playoffs. But, I hope they can prove me wrong.
Till Next Time,
Ryan Meyer (@ryanlmeyer)