The Flyers are in third place in the Metropolitan Division and only four points away from first place. They have the top penalty kill in the league. If the playoffs were to start today, Philadelphia would be a lock. Not many thought they'd be this successful. As the Flyers began to win games early on, few thought they would sustain this level of success. And yet, here we are. The thing is, this is no fluke.
Let's look at their last few games. Sam Ersson shut out a first-place Winnipeg team, and Philly won thanks to Cam Atkinson's two-goal performance. Three of their last four wins have come down to one-goal games. They also dispatched a first-place Vancouver team at the end of December.
The Flyers have beaten established teams. They are doing light years better in overtime and shootouts as compared to last season. While they are struggling on the power play, this team is playing with confidence. Every game is gritty and hard fought. Even on nights when they are down, they seem to have an opportunity to bounce back.
There are several keys to their success. First, their goaltending has been outstanding. Ersson and Carter Hart are forming the best goaltending duo this franchise has seen since Brian Boucher and Roman Cechmanek. Ersson has three shutouts and could be a Calder Trophy contender.
The Flyers are also getting scoring from multiple sources. We've seen this lately. In the last game, Atkinson scored two to lead Philly to victory. The game before, it was Joel Farabee who scored a pair. It's hard to focus on just one guy when anyone can be the hero on any night.
We are about eight weeks from the NHL trade deadline. It will be interesting to see what moves GM Daniel Briere may make. However, for a team that is supposed to be in a "rebuild," they are doing quite well. Maybe the rebuild is over, and the future is now.