The Flyers are 13-6-3 since Nov. 9, helping the Flyers move back into the playoff picture as the halfway point of the season approaches. (Photo Courtesy of ESPN.com)
A 4-1 win for the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday improved them to 17-16-4 on the season through 37 games. That in itself is a miracle.
With the halfway point four games away, let’s take a look back at how the Flyers got to this point.
The anticipated season-opener against the Toronto Maple Leafs ended in disappointment. The next two games saw no further improvement. That marked the end of Peter Laviolette’s time with the Flyers. The head coach was fired just three games in and replaced by Craig Berube.
The Flyers went on to win in Berube’s debut. But they lost the next four games after that to slip to 1-7-0 just eight games into the season. Things looked bleak from there.
October ended with a pair of wins against both New York teams before dropping the final game of the month to Anaheim.
The low point of the season came on Nov. 1. The Flyers lost in a laugher to the Washington Capitals, 7-0. In the process, a full on line brawl showed the franchise’s lack of a culture and marked the Flyers as a team caught in a standstill.
Things didn’t get better as the Flyers lost two of the next three games as well to move to 4-10-1.
A win against Edmonton on Nov. 9 that featured Claude Giroux’s first goal of the season set off a hot stretch. The Flyers won six of their next seven games – the only loss being in a shootout to Winnipeg – to improve to 10-10-2.
The final four games of November were split, but the Flyers closed the month with an exciting shootout win in Nashville. The win brought the Flyers to 12-12-2.
The Flyers opened December with losses in the first four of five games. All four losses came on the road.
One of the bright points of the Flyers season has been a nine-game home winning streak, started on Nov. 9 and ongoing right up until the Flyers most recent win on Monday.
The Flyers 17-16-4 record is a testament to the way this team has found form under Berube. They have regrouped and set the focus on being a team with playoff aspirations.
That is the beginning of the Flyers turnaround. Winning just one of the first eight games and four of the first 15 is really as low as a team can get. The Flyers were struggling defensively – with the exception of Steve Mason – and couldn’t find a scoring touch.
Since falling to 4-10-1, the Flyers are 13-6-3. That is a record that reflects a team with playoff hopes. The style of play, while still shaky at times, is better and improving with every game.
As the Flyers embark on a six-game road trip that will test their ability as a playoff contender, they will have to prove that they belong among the rest in the Eastern Conference. Not only have they crept into the playoff picture, they are starting their ascent further in the standings.
The Flyers are third in the Metropolitan Division, meaning that if the season ended today, they would be the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
By old playoff system standards, the Flyers would barely make the playoffs in eighth. However, they are just four points out of second in the division and nine points out of a spot to host a first-round series.
For a team that started the season with seven losses in eight games, there are worse places to be. At the very least, the Flyers appear to be right where anticipated, remarkable considering the path in getting there.