As the season winds down and the last few games come into play in the race to playoffs, the Flyers are in a critical spot.
The homestretch is going to be tough for the Flyers with two back-to-back games and the last three games in four days. It seems to be a little intense and unfair to the players fighting for a playoff spot.
Although Pittsburgh would have probably beaten the Flyers without that excuse, perhaps a deliberate reduction of back-to-back games at this critical point in the season would be something to consider.
You can see the deterioration of the players mental and physical capabilities as these final weeks pass. The wear-and-tear of a season happens regardless, but you can't help but notice the schedule for so many teams feature back-to-back games.
This is something to consider for all teams in the NHL, especially as player safety has continued to become a growing issue.
The Flyers and Penguins deserve a lot of credit for where their new head coaches have them. Dave Hakstol has certainly helped lead the Flyers into the race. The Penguins, already stocked with talent, needed Mike Sullivan more than they could have ever realized. And at this point in the season, they went from being potentially the most overrated team in the league this season to a driving force just as playoff time hits, winning 11 of their last 12 games.
The Flyers were on the losing end and roughed up again by the Penguins for the second straight time. But last time, that game seemed to have a positive effect on the Orange and Black. With four games left, they have no choice. As frustrating as it was, this is a result that the Flyers need to bounce back from with vigor, especially with the same Penguins team coming to Philadelphia in just six days.
Even in the years when the Flyers weren't looking like much of a playoff team, they always seemed to have the Penguins number. This season, that has hardly been the case.
In what almost looked like a replay of their meeting from three weeks earlier, the Flyers looked outmatched against the surging Penguins, who continued their torrid stretch with a 6-2 win over the Flyers on Sunday night at Consol Energy Center.
The Flyers system features a "Big Five" group of prospects on the blue line. One of those players is having a tremendous rookie season in the NHL. Two others have been a part of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in the AHL all season. Two others were continuing to build their resumes in junior hockey.
With junior hockey seasons starting to come to a close, new opportunities can open for those players. For 2014 first-round pick Travis Sanheim, the time has come.
Sanheim will join the Phantoms on an amatuer try-out, now that the Calgary Hitmen have been eliminated from the WHL Playoffs.