Hello again, Flyers Fans. It's time to welcome you all back to our dip into Fan Files, where we turn to one of our three fan correspondents and have them give the state of the Flyers from the fan's perspective.
This week, Jaclyn Mason returns with her thoughts on a very different month of Flyers hockey.
I had the thankless task of putting together the first Fan Files column about a month ago, when there was nothing good to say about the Flyers. All I could do was preach optimism and keep my fingers crossed.
Much has changed since then, with the team on a four-game winning streak and finally showing signs of life.
Michael Del Zotto's career has been a bit of a roller coaster. He made a pretty big splash at the NHL level in his rookie season with the New York Rangers, scoring nine goals. His production dropped in his second season, and then was right back up again with 10 goals in his third season.
From that peak, Del Zotto's career track went into a deep valley. He struggled again in New York, and the Rangers shipped him to Nashville for less than glamorous return. After 25 games, Nashville -- and apparently the rest of the NHL -- had seen enough.
In the summer of 2014, Del Zotto waited for NHL teams to call. For a while, it seemed like none would. Ultimately, Kimmo Timonen's diagnosis of blood clots forced the Philadelphia Flyers into urgent action. They were able to sign Del Zotto for just $1.3 million due to lack of other suitors.
Playing in Philadelphia agreed with Del Zotto. He found some of that scoring mojo, scoring 10 goals in only 64 games last season. Flyers fans quickly became accustomed to the sight of Del Zotto pushing down the left boards and sniping one past the goalie top shelf. It showed Del Zotto can still add offense, but his two-way game still was lacking.
With the Flyers still waiting for their defensive youth movement to arrive, the Flyers re-signed Del Zotto this summer to a two-year contract at a tidy raise. At the age of 25 this season, Del Zotto is creating new facets to his game. Namely, he's trying on the role of two-way, No. 1 defenseman.
Lately it has seemed the Philadelphia Flyers luck really turned. They were getting some favorable bounces, timely saves and the results were falling in their favor.
The result was their first three-game winning streak in nearly a year. To extend the streak to four against the New Jersey Devils, they would have no such fate on their side.
The Devils opened the scoring in this one. A harmless backhand tied up Michal Neuvirth, and the Flyers found themselves down 1-0. Immediately thereafter, the Flyers had to kill off a penalty on a dubious call. The Flyers took control from there, scoring a quick power play goal and suffocating the Devils attack the rest of the first period.
Just when it looked like the Flyers might see calm waters on the way to a win, the Devils scored an early third-period goal. The goal came just seconds after the Flyers killed another penalty, and was mostly the result of bad luck. A big shift from the Bellemare line again gave the Flyers the lead, only to see it slip one more time in the last minute with a power-play goal with an extra-attacker on for New Jersey.
Finally, the Flyers were able to claim two points from this game after Matt Read showed a ton of patience scoring on a 2-on-1 break in overtime. The Flyers saw their penalty killing streak end, but their winning streak continue with a 4-3 final win over the New Jersey Devils.