Gifts No. 3: A Legitimate Goalie Tandem
Of course, you could have all the strong defensive play you want, but everything falls apart if you can't get a lousy save from your goaltenders. To be fair, this is a problem for a lot of NHL clubs, but it seems like the Flyers have been acutely affected by 'Stinky Goalie Syndrome' for, oh, about 40 years. Now, with the caveat that goaltending is ultra fickle, that isn't a problem for this team.
Although he's missed some time with a recurring illness, Carter Hart has looked very strong. He's obviously gaining confidence from the team in front of him, and he's not feeling like he has to single-handedly win games, which helps a goaltender immensely. But let's focus more on his creasemate, Sam Ersson.
After an extremely bumpy start to his campaign that had some people decrying him as undeserving of an NHL roster spot, Ersson has rebounded in a huge way. The more he plays, it seems, the better he gets. It's been great to know that the team won't be falling off a cliff when they have to turn to their "backup goaltender". The Flyers can now approach back-to-back games and tough stretches with confidence, without having to feel like they have to change their game to cover up for a weakness in net. Ersson's performance this year even has some asking if he could possibly bring home some hardware for his strong play. Time will tell.
It would be great if all of these areas could continue clicking for the Flyers and lead them on a surprise playoff run this season. But, at least at this moment, Flyers fans are exclaiming, "What a great gift!"