Well, it’s the end of week three and the Flyers somehow come out of this with a record of 7-2-1. I’m not 100% shocked this is where they sit after this week, but I am definitely shocked that they won all four games. I am also shocked that some of the same issues continue to plague this team and we’re seeing the same thing night in and night out. Anyway, let’s go over these past two series.
The Devils series should have been two wins, and it was two wins. Unfortunately, the first win was not a win I’m all that thrilled with. Was it really a 5-2 game with a garbage time goal to make it 5-3? Yeah, but in that game I said to myself multiple times the Devils (the DEVILS) look like the better team. I guess at the end of the day the Flyers were able to capitalize on chances a lot better than the New Jersey, and came away with two points. I wasn’t able to catch the second game, but from my understanding it was a defensive battle with the Flyers again capitalizing on chances better than their opponent. The series felt like a “we should’ve won but that won’t fly against better teams” type deal, but I guess you take every win you can this year.
Then the Flyers had a back to back with the Islanders, a team that still gives me PTSD after they beat the Flyers in seven games when it should’ve been like five. With regards to the first game, I’m going to sound like a broken record here, but the Flyers were the lesser of the two teams for at least 40 minutes. It’s been a VERY common occurrence for the Flyers to get a two goal lead, and then blow it within the next twenty minutes. That’s what happened on Saturday night, and I think they Flyers were very lucky to not only get to overtime, but win it. I love seeing that kind of play from Scott Laughton, and hope he proves that last year wasn’t a fluke.
For multiple reasons, but mostly just so I stop sounding like an angry fan who says their good team stinks, I thought the Flyers looked MUCH better as a whole in the second Islanders game. Were there some bad defensive mistakes that led to the puck being in the back of our net? Yes, but that happens (while I’m here, send Justin Braun to the ECHL). You’ll notice I’m writing the most about Sunday’s game because this team excites me again.
Anyway, the Flyers were better at winning puck battles and cycling, more aggressive on the forecheck and thus forcing turnovers, and just all around looked like a better hockey team. If the Flyers are able to play most games like they did on Sunday against the Islanders while eliminating a few minor mistakes, then they can be the team we thought they could be before the season started. I liked what I saw for the most part, and I really enjoyed the result. I think if the Flyers can build off what they did Sunday night, they can dominate some games in the future put together a special run.
To note some players: Joel Farabee had a fire lit under him netting his first career hat trick, and it was a pretty one. Two goals were snipes and the third was being in the right place at the right time. He’s playing exactly like someone who can play for 15 years in this league, and I think he’s going to be a stud. One player who’s just casually worked his way into the top points spot is James van Riemsdyk. He gets the dirty tip goals in front of the net, and this line with JVR-Laughton-Farabee is allowing JVR to show off his passing ability. Three points, all assists from JVR on Sunday night, propel him to 12 points on the year to lead the team.
I would also be remised if I didn’t mention the play of Brian Elliott. When he’s been in the crease, he has been fantastic. He already has a shutout this year in his limited appearances, and he was huge against the Islanders on Sunday. I think you can maybe blame one goal on him as he was screened on one and Justin Braun just handed the Islanders their third goal. He’s stood on his head numerous times already, and it makes me happy regarding the Flyers goaltending situation.
One final point I want to make, I’m going to make as an unbiased hockey fan. The referees are killing me with all of these penalties that barely deserve to be called. I’m saying this on both ends as the Flyers were completely gifted some powerplays just like the Islanders were. And this is an across the league thing from what I understand. It’s detrimental to the game for the refs to get more camera time than the players, and it needs to stop. Stop calling slashes that a guy doesn’t even feel, and let the boys play.
After three weeks, the Flyers are tied for first in the division with 15 points. Next week is two home games against the Bruins, followed by the first Caps matchup on February 7th. That should be at least one win, and I’m predicting two. I’ll see you guys next week. Go Flyers.