Will the Philadelphia Flyers Power Through February?

Dec 10, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; Philadelphia Flyers celebrate defeating the St. Louis Blues 4-2 at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 10, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; Philadelphia Flyers celebrate defeating the St. Louis Blues 4-2 at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

February is the shortest month of the calendar year and also the busiest month for the Philadelphia Flyers.

February might have 29 days this year but for the Philadelphia Flyers, it’s all about the points. The team is seven points back in the wild card race and it is crucial that ever point up for grabs is taken by the Flyers. Their 4-2 win Tuesday night over the Montreal Canadiens was a step in the right direction but it was one game. The Habs have been in a free fall and even with the talent that is P.K. Subban, they were easy work for the Philadelphia Flyers. Yet the Flyers will need to keep a close eye on their team and continue to progress in the second half of the season. February will play a crucial part in their postseason hopes.

The story of the 2015 Philadelphia Flyers has been one of ups and downs. Prior to the All-Star break, the Flyers came off of a win over the Washington Capitals, arguably one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. They continued their streak with a win against the Habs and look for a third win against the Nasvhille Predators Thursday night. This is a win that the Flyers needed to boost their ranking. Prior to the game they were two points behind Montreal and instead the Flyers took those two points away.

The crucial win could not have happened without the support of the Flyers’ wingers. Wayne Simmonds and Jakub Voracek showed that a strong pair of wingers could work wonders for the team. Simmonds scored a pair of goals in the game while Voracek had three assists. Voracek has been playing well with 34 points in the past 32 games. He’s playing at a high level and is being the type of player that can make game-changing decisions. He can be an aggressive skater when provoked and has finally shown that he’s an asset to the Flyers’ squad.

The penalty-kill will also be a huge component and big factor. The Flyers don’t have a high percentage when it comes to penalty killing. They rank 26th in the league, with a percentage of 77.9 percent, but the team has moments where their PK is playing hard. The latest showing against the Habs was once such experience. They managed to keep the Habs at bay and with Sean Couturier and Chris VandeVelde, they killed a five minute penalty at the end of the game that sealed the Flyers’ victory. That group is going to be crucial as the team goes up against the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers Sunday and Saturday respectfully.

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So the biggest question at the moment is thus: can the Flyers make it through their tough schedule and emerge in a strong playoff position?

The answer might seem fuzzy. The Capitals and Rangers have proved to be difficult opponents for the Flyers in the first half of the season. There are 20 points up for grabs and if they can pull it off, they’ll be in a slightly better position for the close of the regular season. They have the coaching ability to make the right moves. Their rookie defensemen, Shayne Gostisbehere, could help them to make big plays. They’re not in a rebuilding mood as previously thought but can be very much contender for a playoff spot. The Flyers played a strong game against the Habs and if they can bring the same level of intensity to their upcoming games, they’ll show that they are a team who can bring toughness to the ice. February could be the month that sees the Flyers come into their own.