The Philadelphia Flyers have gone 6-3-1 in their last ten games. Hard to imagine that would be the case after they suffered a crushing 3-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils just five games ago. After that game I, like many other Flyers faithful, thought that was quite possibly rock bottom. What else could the front office or coaching staff do to wake this team up. The winds of change were definitely in the air. As Flyers fans most of us have become accustom to major deal to ignite a spark; but this time nothing was forthcoming. At some point the players had to be held accountable. What happened next was Philly would go on and play three of their best games in recent memory. Maybe they have turned a corner. Beating the Oilers 4-2 was not all that impressive considering Edmonton is on a downward spiral, but it was the first game this year where they started to show a little jump in their game. They then went on to play quite possibly their most complete game in over a year by beating the Senators 5-0. For an encore they beat the Pittsburgh Penguins the next night 2-1. The Pittsburgh game was more than just a rivalry match. Being that it was the second game of back-to-back nights for the Flyers; it was a gut-check. After a quick scare with a disallowed goal by the Penguins 19 seconds; the Flyers woke up and rolled all four lines all night. Coach Berube deserves a lot of credit for that. He was able to match whatever line he wanted out there all game long.
Early on this season Philly seemed to be pressing too hard and making a whole mess of mistakes as a result. When the hammer fell on Coach Laviolette they were out of sorts and the baton was passed to Coach Berube to turn things around. Patience is not a strong suit for even the most hardened Flyers fan. Truth is; patience is not something the Flyers front office is known for either. Here we are though. After a lot of us were thinking that GM Paul Holmgren would make another bold move; yet he stood pat and let these last few games play out. These Flyers are starting to play like they should have been from the start of the season. These Flyers are starting to think less and react more. These Flyers are starting to play as a team. What we are seeing is these Flyers starting to show a pulse. Better late than never.
**Steve Mason recorded his first shutout in a Flyers uniform the other night in the 5-0 victory over Ottawa. He has been the Flyers MVP so far this season and it was great to see them really pull together and get it done. That leads to this poll question:
**As good as Steve Mason has been this year the Flyers would be in far worse shape if not for both he and Ray Emery. With the exception of the ugly game against Washington; Emery has been everything the Flyers had hoped for when they signed him this summer. He is clearly the back-up right now, but he is also doing it as well and as classy as one could expect. Truth is he is more like goalie 1B to Mason’s 1A.
**A lot of the Flyers recent success is due to their ability of rolling all four lines. They have cut down somewhat on taking bad penalties; especially from the fourth line. That lead to much fresher legs at the end of games and on back-to-back nights. Most of the credit for that is the players buying into the system of the coaching staff.
**Even if the Philadelphia Flyers were to make a move where would be. Third line winger maybe. Where does that leave Read-Couturier-Downie? That line I am really starting to get excited about. If Steve Downie can eliminate most of his bad penalties without changing his game he will be one heck of a welcome return to Philly. If not for his reckless penalties; I hated to see him go the first time around. Hopefully a more mature Downie will be the player the front office thought he would be when they drafted him.
**With that said and you had the chance to play GM for a day what would you do with this team right now?
**The Flyers have three very winnable home games coming up this week (Senators, Sabres, Islanders). Home has not been to sweet for Philly so far this year; so here is to hoping that it gets turned around. After that eight of their next nine are on the road. The road trip ends with a stop in Chicago to take on the defending Stanley Cup Champions.
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