Since the Christmas break, the Flyers have been on a remarkable, and somewhat surprising run. From the holiday break until the All-Star break, the team has gone 10-4-2 with two shutouts, including one against the Jets in their last game.
After suffering through a 10 game losing streak in November and December, the Flyers have battled their way back to a respectable 21-21-9. While they are they are in seventh place in the Metropolitan Division with 51 points, they are not out of the playoff hunt yet.
However, this is where things get tricky. Earlier, I said that those last two weeks in January would tell a lot about this team. Against playoff bound teams, and the Blackhawks, the Flyers went 3-3-2. They got pounded by Boston, just like everyone else, but managed to stay in it in all the games they played, even the ones they lost…except for Chicago.
The Flyers will return to play on Tuesday to kick off a four game homestand. First up are the New York Islanders. A victory here will help the Flyers out a lot as the Isles are the team just above Philly in the standings. After that it gets harder. Edmonton, Nashville, and Seattle, three of the Western Conference’s finest, roll into town.
Then, the Flyers will go on a Northern Canadian trip. The trip will start in Seattle and see the Flyers go to Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton. All three are tough teams, with the exception of Vancouver which is bottoming out.
After that, the Flyers have three games before the trade deadline. They will host the lowly Canadiens, travel up I-95 to take on New Jersey, and then return home to face the Rangers.
Overall, that is 11 games. Only Vancouver and Montreal do not have a winning record.
This will be a very tough stretch for Philadelphia. If they can come out of it with at least a .500 record against some top level teams, that is great. However, if they bottom out, their season is effectively done and any sort of playoff dream is wiped out then and there. Succeed, and they are back in the mix, especially if they can prove their worth against top tier talent.