Being a Philly sports fan can be traumatic at times. One year ago, the Phillies made it to the World Series and lost a close one to Houston. The Eagles were on their magical Super Bowl run. One year later, the Phillies fell short in October, and the Eagles had a historic collapse and a horrific playoff exit. Let's be honest, the Sixers are a good team, but will somehow let us down again. The funny thing is, if there is a team that can lift us out of our doldrums right now, it is, in fact, the Flyers.
Somehow, the Philadelphia Flyers are playing well. They are within striking distance of the Metropolitan Division title. They've been near the top of the divisional standings all season. Could it be that this team is our city's sports salvation? There are some real reasons that this team could be fun to observe in the second half of their season.
Few Blowout Losses
The Flyers have played 45 games. They have lost 20 of them with six games coming in overtime. In only seven of their losses have they lost by three or more games. Eleven games, counting the overtime losses, have been decided by just one goal.
This means that the Flyers have been "in" every single game they've played in. They are hustling, making plays, putting pressure on the other team, and, most importantly, not giving up. That has made almost every game exciting. They have a chance to win every game, even against the good teams in the NHL.
Most of this Flyers team has been drafted and developed by the franchise. Sean Couturier and Scott Laughton are to the Flyers what Jason Kelce and Brandon Graham are to the Eagles. They've been here for over a decade and are the de facto leaders of this team.
More than that, we've seen Travis Konecny and Joel Farabee become stars. We've seen young players like Noah Cates, Morgan Frost, Travis Sanheim, and Cam York develop into everyday players. We are excited to see what steps players like Bobby Brink and Tyson Foerster will take to become the next generation of Flyers.
Low Expectations can Reap Great Rewards
When the Phillies went to the World Series last year and returned this season with almost the same lineup plus Trea Turner, we thought they'd be a shoo-in to return. Instead, they fell short in the NLCS. Likewise, after the Eagles went to the Super Bowl, we all thought they'd be back, as nobody in the NFC looked scary. Injuries took their toll, and the team fell off the rails at the wrong time. We are also all waiting for the inevitable collapse of the Sixers to someone they should beat in the playoffs.
As for the Flyers, nobody expected them to do good. At best, they might be an outlier team that would just miss the playoffs. However, this was not a team expected to do much. There was thought they would end up trading some of their top players, like Carter Hart and Konecny, with the playoffs long gone.
There is always one team in the playoffs that goes on an unexpected tear, especially in the NHL. Last year, it was Florida. The Panthers made the playoffs because Pittsburgh lost their last two games against last-place teams. Win, and you’re in, but the Penguins failed to do so. Instead, the Panthers roared back from a 3-0 deficit and defeated the historically great Boston Bruins. Following this, they embarked on a run that took them to the Stanley Cup Finals.
If the Flyers keep at this pace, there is no reason to believe that couldn't happen for them as well. This team seems to believe in themselves. Their coach believes in their players. Maybe we should start believing too.