Last week, Flyerdelphia examined what is going on with the rest of the teams around the league as the strike-shortened season approaches its 48-game halfway mark. After yesterday's dissapointing 4-2 loss to the New York Rangers, the Flyers now have 24 games in the books, and start the second half of their schedule at 11-12-1, a half-game under .500.
Items of particular note:
- If the Playoffs started today, the Flyers would be participating. They sit at ninth (9th) in the Eastern Conference behind the Rangers, who lead them by a point, 24-23, having played three fewer games than the Flyers.
- The Flyers are 12th in the NHL in scoring at 2.8 Goals per game, but just 23rd in goals allowed per game (GAA) at 3.0. It is interesting to consider this when looking at each of the Flyers' wins and losses, because when they are scoring, they tend to back up the goalies very well. When their scoring is low, however, they have more of a propensity to lose less-than-close games. Ilya Bryzgalov's splits illustrate this trend very well: in wins, his GAA is 1.91, but 3.54 in losses. One might put the blame solely on Bryzgalov, but keep in mind that the Flyers average to score 1.62 goals per game, so they aren't exactly backing Bryz up very well. In wins, they average 4.27 goals/game.
- Claude Giroux, who was mired in a major offensive funk earlier this season, has come along nicely as of late. He has 23 points on the season (7 Goals, 16 Assists), and leadsthe offensive players in on-ice time at 21:32. He, however, has taken a bit of a back-seat to one of his younger teammates, Jakub Voracek
- Voracek, who averages 16:43 on the ice, has 27 points on the season (10 G, 17 A). The most impressive thing about this may not be his age, as many expected the 23-year-old to make strides forward this season, but the fact that he 1.) has been able to produce amidst a series of line changes by coach Peter Laviolette in an attempt to get the offense moving, and 2.) played his best hockey (so far) en route to an eight-win February. While this seems rather pedestrian, it was a big improvement from the team's two-win January, which the team could have easily repeated, with even more disastrous consequences, without Voracek's 21-point February.
- Matt Read, who lead the Flyers in points at the time of his injury versus the Penguins, is expected to miss another three weeks. Tye McGinn will be out about a month after surgery on a broken orbital bone. Nicklass Grossman, who suffered what was deemed a hip flexor from Tuesday's game, is considered day-to-day at the moment.
- As Kevin mentioned in Saturday's post, the Flyers have four huge in-conference games this week. As the standings currently read, the Flyers play 16 of their final 24 games against teams that would make the playoffs were the season to end today. 13 of the 24 will be home games.
- Ten of the Flyers' remaining games are against Atlantic Division rivals: two games against the Pittsburgh Penguins, two against the Rangers, three versus the New Jersey Devils, and three against the New York Islanders, who are just a point behind the Flyers at 22.