Look around the NHL playoffs and you’ll see plenty of former Flyers. Whether it be players or even former coaches, there are a lot who are helping their teams succeed. And a few of them took part in two of the biggest upsets in the NHL.
The Boston Bruins shattered records this season. They won 65 games, capturing the President’s Trophy with an incredible 135 points. The next closest team was Carolina with 113. That’s a 22-point gap between the top two teams in the league.
First up for Boston was the wild-card winning Florida Panthers, a team that snuck into the playoffs in the final days. It was a former Flyers’ goaltender that had a large role in that. Alex Lyon played in 22 games for Philadelphia in parts of four seasons (2017-2021). He was never able to solidify a role and finished with a sub-.900 SV% in three of those years.
After spending a year in the Hurricanes organization, he came to Florida. Getting the opportunity down the stretch, Lyon appeared in 15 games and won nine of them. He posted a 2.89 GAA and a .914 SV%. He also registered the first shutout of his career. Lyon was one of the biggest reasons that Florida turned things on at the end of the season.
And while his postseason numbers leave a bit more to be desired, he was facing a lethal Bruins roster. This is where another former Flyers goaltender came into play. Sergei Bobrovsky was in net for the final four games of the series. He would be on the winning end of the last three games to help Florida upset the Bruins.
Two of the final three games between the two sides went to overtime. One of which saw Bobrovsky save 44 of 47 shots as the Panthers were facing elimination. And it’s not the first time Bobrovsky has gone up against a historic team.
The Panthers had other former Flyers on their roster in Nick Cousins (four assists) and Radko Gudas (one assist). Their roles were minimal in the series win, though.
Florida will have a second round matchup with the Toronto Maple Leafs, a team heading to the second round for the first time since 2004.
Dave Hakstol and the Seattle Kraken
Dave Hakstol was the Flyers head coach from 2015-2018. The team would make the playoff twice during his tenure. Some of his biggest flaws during his first NHL stint included overvaluing certain players. He had a tendency to rely on the not so good ones, including a type of infatuation with the Andrew MacDonald’s and Chris Vandevelde types.
Some of it was also not his fault. The Flyers depth was not as strong so he didn’t necessarily have a full roster of players that could help him. And some of it boiled down to the system he wanted them to play.
Now in his second stint as a head coach, he has helped turn the Seattle Kraken into a legitimate cup contender in just their second year of existence. They won 27 games in their first season and finished last in the Pacific. Things were different this year as they finished with 46 wins and entered the postseason with the top wild card spot in the west. Their first test? The defending Stanley Cup champions.
So what did the Kraken do? Well, they only happened to take the Avalanche to seven games and send them home. That’s right, the second-year team knocked out the defending champions. They became the first expansion team to eliminate the defending champions in their playoff debut.
They will take on the Dallas Stars in the second round, a team that scored four or more goals in three of the six games.