Flyers Could Make a Deep Postseason Run

Flyers Could Make a Deep Postseason Run
Who will be the next champion from Philadelphia? A lot of people are in the Flyers corner and for good reason. The Flyers have been playing as well as any team in the NFL over the last month and will definitely have momentum heading into the playoffs.
 
And yes, there will be playoffs for this year’s team after the Flyers didn’t qualify last year.
 
The Flyers are still defined by their two Stanley Cups, won in 1973-74 and 1974-75. Since then, the Flyers have usually fielded a competitive team. Since winning that second Cup, the Flyers have been to six additional Stanley Cup finals, coming up short each time.
 
The most recent trip was 2010.
 
This year feels like they have a chance to get there again. What is great about the NHL is that it has more parity than the other leagues.
 
Did anybody expect the St. Louis Blues to win the Stanley Cup at the beginning of last year’s playoffs? The Blues gained momentum under the guidance of then interim coach Craig Berube, the former Flyers enforcer and head coach.
 
This year the Stanley Cup again appears up for grabs.
 
In addition to the Flyers, Boston Tampa Bay, Washington and Pittsburgh look like viable contenders, and that is just in the Eastern Conference.
 
In the Western Conference, St. Louis, Las Vegas, Colorado and Edmonton appear to be contenders. And don’t be surprised if a team not mentioned surfaces as a contender.
 
With the physicality of the game, winning a Stanley Cup is among the most difficult feats in all of sports. A team has to win four series, 16 game in all.
 
Last year the Blues had to play 26 games in a little more than two months.
 
First-year Flyers coach Alain Vigneault has made a world of difference. Vigneault, who took two teams, the New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks, to the Stanley Cup finals, came with the reputation as a winner and that earned him immediate respect.
 
It helps when a team has one of the top young goalies in the NHL in Carter Hart, but also veteran backup Brian Elliott, has been an outstanding veteran complement.
 
Hart won’t turn 22 until August and he gives the Flyers optimism for years to come.
 
The defense has been solid, led by Ivan Provorov, just 23 and in his fourth year. Provorov’s durability has been incredible. He played all 82 games in each of his first three seasons and entered the week having not missed a game this year.
 
Travis Konecny, 23, made his first all-star team this year and likely won’t be his last. He began the week leading the team in scoring with 24 goals and 37 assists for 61 points.
 
Center Sean Couturier began the week second on the team with 59 points (22 goals, 37 assists). More impressively, he continues to be among the top two-way players in the NHL. His rating of plus-22 lead the Flyers (to begin the week)>
 
Captain Claude Giroux, is still effective (21 goals, 32 assists) but he doesn’t have to carry the team.
 
There is a lot of balance, and Flyers success has spawned a more confident team. One very capable of winning 16 games after the regular season ends.

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo by Marc Narducci

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