If there’s one team that can hold a grudge against coronavirus, it’s the Philadelphia Flyers. Not only because they are notoriously and historically pretty good at holding grudges, but because COVID-19 snatched any and all momentum from the team. The Flyers were winners of nine of 10 games before the coronavirus pandemic sunk into the United States, forcing the NHL to put the rest of the regular season on hold. That run aptly thrust the Flyers into the running for 1st in the Metropolitan division — yes, the division. So let’s take a look at where the Fly Guys stand during these tough times.
Where do the Washington Capitals stand during the break?
Points: 89 (preseason over/under: 90.5)
Place: 2nd in Metropolitan (No. 4 overall seed in conference)
Stanley Cup odds (March 10): +1400
Had the Flyers kept their winning streak going, they would have hit their preseason OVER for points on the season. Unfortunately, if you’re a bettor and had the OVER, you’re on pause waiting for hockey to return. If the regular season ends up being canceled and we go right into the playoffs, you may be getting a refund at some point, I don’t know.
Anyway, this run has the Flyers right on the tail of the Washington Capitals for first place in the division. Philly is also ahead of the rival Pittsburgh Penguins in the standings for the first time in what seems like forever. This was lining up to be a special season for the Flyers until all of this happening. Most of the magic was courtesy of goaltender Carter Hart.
The 21-year-old is in his first full NHL season as starter for the Flyers and has looked like a veteran throughout. He’s 24-13-3 with a 2.42 GAA and .914 SV% in 43 appearances this season. Really, if you look back at the Flyers issues, well, the past two decades almost, it’s been goaltending. Now that that isn’t an issue anymore, Philly has been able to focus on what made it so formidable back in the day: Grit and Jam.
The Flyers leading scorer is Travis Konecny — an undersized forward who molds his game after the great pests of the NHL. Claude Lemieux, Brad Marchand, those types. Konecny only has 61 points in 66 games this season. Normally, we’re used to see Claude Giroux or Jakub Voracek or Sean Couturier up there in points, but that isn’t the case for this Flyers team. The scoring is getting spread around and that has been a good thing. Usually Philly has top-heavy lineups but this is one of the deeper teams they’ve had in a while. The Flyers are solid on special teams, inside the top 10 on the power play and just outside the top 10 in penalty killing.
It’s unfortunate that the Flyers weren’t able to extend their run the last month of the season and into the playoffs. Had they went into the postseason with full momentum behind them, I’d like the Flyers to surprise some people. It’s a veteran locker room, hungry for the Stanley Cup after years of letdown in the postseason. Once hockey returns, look out for the Flyers moving forward.