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What Happened to the Philadelphia Flyers?

The Philadelphia Flyers' elimination from playoff contention caps off a sharp decline that dates back to the previous season's playoffs

By Clyde E. DawkinsPublished 3 years ago 3 min read
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The Flyers last reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2010

The Philadelphia Flyers lost back-to-back games to the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday and Thursday, with Thursday's 5-3 loss eliminating them from playoff contention. The Flyers' inconsistency has been a huge story this season, as they tend to look good in some games, but play so terribly in others. Though this season has been problematic for the Flyers, their woes actually date back to last year's playoffs.

Last season saw the Flyers on a roll, as they entered the pause as winners of nine of their last 10 games. The Flyers moved into 2nd place in the Metropolitan Division, closely ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins and narrowly behind the first place Washington Capitals. In May 2020, commissioner Gary Bettman announced that the top 12 teams in each conference would qualify for a modified version of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and out of the top 12, the four best teams in each conference would advance to the traditional 16-team playoffs, but would play against each other for seeding. The Flyers' winning tear moved them into the top four, and in the Round Robin, the Flyers swept their way into the top seed in the Eastern Conference, defeating the Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals, and the Tampa Bay Lightning.

That, unfortunately, is where the happiness ended for the Flyers. They barely survived the Montréal Canadiens in the first round (six games), but in the East Semis, they were upset by the 6th-seeded New York Islanders (also in six games). This season appeared to be promising for the Flyers, who started 12-5-3 in their first 20 games, and spent a good bit of the season in the East Division's top four. However, the Flyers went south fast, and the centerpiece of their problems was their blowout losses to the New York Rangers, losing 9-0 to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on March 17, and suffering an 8-3 home loss to the same team on March 25. Their biggest embarrassment came on March 31, when they lost 6-1 to a Buffalo Sabres team who was on a record-tying 18-game losing streak. That loss started a 5-8-3 skid in their last 16 games.

Regarding stats, James van Riemsdyk's is the leading goal scorer with 16, but that's just it--he still leads despite a very long goalless skid. Joel Farabee went from red hot to ice cold in the last several games, and while Jakub Voracek is the leading points-getter on the team, only nine of the 40 points he racked up are goals. It gets worse. Philadelphia's goaltending has been very suspect all season, as neither Carter Hart nor Brian Elliot have a save percentage (SV%) of .900 or above. All of those problems have resulted in a very, very disappointing season for the Flyers, and now that they are officially eliminated, the all important question is asked: "Where do they go from here?"

This season is the Flyers' second under Alain Vigneault as head coach; of course, Vigneault is known for taking the New York Rangers to the Stanley Cup Final in 2014. I doubt the Flyers upper office will take it out on the coach, but even so, something has to change. Maybe the team changes things in net, but that might be a knee-jerk reaction; after all, Hart was much better than this last season, and Elliott is very capable. Should they make an offseason trade? If so, who? Scott Laughton? Travis Konecny? Do they give up the Ghost (Shayne Gostisbehere)? Who knows? In any event, this will be an interesting offseason for the Flyers.

The Flyers' loss drops them to 22-21-7 on the season.

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About the Creator

Clyde E. Dawkins

I am an avid fan of sports and wrestling, and I've been a fan of female villains since the age of eight. Also into film and TV, especially Simpsons and Family Guy.

Feel free to follow my social media:

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