Let’s flashback to February. The Philadelphia Flyers were on an absolute tear, suffering only one regulation loss and making their way up the Metropolitan Division standings. They obtained two points in ten of the 13 games played that month and managed to get one point in two overtime losses. All was well in the city of Philadelphia as both the team and its fanbase began feeling high hopes for what the franchise could accomplish.
Now, let’s bring it back to March. The Flyers have yet to get a win in five games and have lost four of those contests in regulation. Once a team on the verge of capturing first place, the Flyers can now feel the two wild card teams breathing down their neck as they hope to remove Philadelphia from a divisional spot.
Whenever a team finds themselves on an extended losing streak, they are desperately seeking that one game to get things back on track. Unfortunately for the Flyers, the remaining schedule for March is far from a walk in the park. They have ten more games remaining, six of which are against teams currently in playoff position. Also, two of those contests are against teams that are in serious contention for sliding into one of those postseason slots.
Now, let’s make something clear. The Flyers are most certainly a playoff-caliber team. However, we are starting to get a better idea as to where Philadelphia stands when compared to the franchises considered to be genuine contenders this season.
When you look back at February’s schedule, you will notice that the Flyers level of competition was on the weaker side of things. Seven of their 13 games were against clubs having down years, including the likes of the Rangers, Coyotes, Canadiens, and Senators. Even Columbus, who is now in a wild card spot, was having a rough go of things in February. Two of Philly’s losses, one in regulation and one in overtime, were at the hands of the Devils, a team that has been in constant playoff contention all season. When you think about it, the only quality win the Flyers obtained was on the road against the Golden Knights.
The competition in March has indeed been stronger so far, playing three of the top teams in the east (Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, and Boston), along with the streaking Panthers. It has been a far better gauge as to where this Flyers team currently stands, and it’s most likely demonstrating something fans don’t want to see. Although Philadelphia is a team on the rise, they are quite not there yet. They will make the postseason but will probably fall in the first round considering who their likely opponent will be (Washington or Pittsburgh).
This recent trip back to reality can be seen as a disappointment. However, fans must remain optimistic for what lies ahead in regards to Philly’s future. They may still be two or three years away from being a real contender, but once they get there, the team will remain near the top of the league for years to come.
Setbacks and failure are never something you want to welcome with open arms. However, once everything is put into perspective, things are a lot less gloomy. Yes, the Flyers might be in a funk and may not be the team we thought they were at the end of February. Still, everyone must be proud of what this team has been able to accomplish and optimistic about the years to come.