Don’t look away…the Flyers are suddenly good again. They are 7-1 in their last eight games. They are a .500 team at 18-18-7. It is the first time that they are at .500 since they began that 10-game slide in November. Granted, I know that .500 doesn’t mean as much in hockey as it does in other sports, but it shows that the team has climbed out of its hole. In fact, if you take away that 10-game losing streak back, they are a winning team. But it did happen, so here is where we are now.
Coach John Tortorella kept saying that this team is better than we give them credit for. We knew the team was decimated by injuries and forcing players to play out of position. Some of them have stepped up to the plate. Noah Cates, for one, was a career bottom liner and has flourished on the first line as of late. Nick Seeler has also been playing steady hockey for being a third-line defender. We are seeing the emergence of young guys, such as Cam York and Owen Tippett, starting to shine.
If the Flyers win out in January, they will get right back on track
It hasn’t been all sunshine and roses. Players have been benched. Torts has called out some players at some times. Whatever has happened, the Flyers have been turning it around. Saturday’s 3-1 victory over the Capitals finishes a week where Philly has swept the Caps in back-to-back games. It is their third straight win, counting Monday’s win over Buffalo. The combined scores of the three games is 12-4.
This brings us to the rest of January 2023. The Flyers are just five points behind the Penguins for moving up in the Metro Division standings. The Islanders are one point above them. As of right now, the Isles are the last team in the playoffs. “So you’re saying there’s a chance?”……
On Monday, the Flyers will face the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Bruins. Boston crushed the Flyers 4-1 in their only meeting so far this year. Following that matchup, the Flyers return home to play Anaheim and Chicago. Both of these should be much easier opponents to face off against. After a Saturday game against Detroit, the Flyers return home to host Winnipeg and Los Angeles. The month will close out on the road as Philly will travel to Minnesota and Winnipeg before heading into the All-Star Break.
So, the Flyers will be facing three games against division leaders (Bruins and Jets), two solid teams (Wild and Kings), a team trying to scrape its way into the playoffs (Detroit), and two bottom feeders (Ducks and Blackhawks), Philly has also already beaten Anaheim and Los Angeles during this 7-1 streak they are currently in.
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In these upcoming games, the Flyers need to be Detroit, Anaheim, and Chicago. If they can stay competitive and with two or three (if not more!) in the other five games, it will show what this team really is and where it is going. Will they end up being buyers or sellers following the All-Star Game? Will they be in a position to get a playoff spot or should they lose again to start tanking? These next two weeks will tell us a lot.