Flyers Have as Good a Shot as Anybody to Win the Stanley Cup

Flyers Have as Good a Shot as Anybody to Win the Stanley Cup
Before the NHL season was suspended due to the pandemic, the Flyers were a blazing hot team, having won nine of their last 10 games.
 
There were some who speculated that the Flyers would have trouble picking up where they left off, more than four and a half months later.
 
Well, so far, the Flyers have picked up where they left off.
 
In the NHL’s bubble, they have been one dominating team and now they have earned No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and will play the Montreal Canadiens in the first round.
 
Montreal also did the Flyers a favor by upsetting the Pittsburgh Penguins, three games to one in the play-in round. 
 
Had the NHL got right to a playoff in resuming the season instead of a round-robin and play-in format, the Flyers would have faced the Penguins in the first round. 
 
That’s not to say that Pittsburgh would have beaten the Flyers, but they always play them tough and that would be the type of series that would take a lot out of both teams. 
 
Now the Flyers instead face the Canadiens, who based on the regular season and what they did against the Penguins, won’t be an easy opponent.
 
The Flyers were 2-1 in the regular season against the Habs. The Flyers won 3-2 in overtime on Nov. 7 at home and 4-3 in overtime Nov. 30 in Montreal. Montreal was a 4-1 home winner on Jan. 16. 
 
Meanwhile the Flyers were dominant in winning their three round robin games, beating three heavyweights, Boston, 4-1; Washington, 3-1 and Tampa Bay, 4-1.
 
Notice the one common denominator?
 
Three games against three potent offensives and only three goals allowed.
 
Carter Hart stopped a total of 57 of 59 shots in winning over Boston and Tampa Bay. Brian Elliott played the middle game and stopped 16 of 17 shots in the win over Washington.
 
What has to be encouraging is the balance the Flyers showed offensively. 
 
Scott Laughton led the way with three goals. Rookie Nicolas Aube-Kubel had two goals, both in the win over Tampa Bay. Others who scored at least a goal were Michael Raffl, Nate Hompson, Philippe Myers, Travis Sanhein, Joel Farabee and Tyler Pitlick. 
 
This is indicative that so many are contributing for first-year coach Alain Vigneault, who has done a masterful job molding the Flyers together. 
 
The Flyers match up with anybody in the playoffs. The NHL playoffs are up for grabs. 
 
The three teams the Flyers just beat, Boston, Washington and Tampa Bay, all have the capability to win the Cup. So do several Western Conference teams. 

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There will be plenty of competition for the Flyers and winning the Stanley Cup is a grind, four rounds of physical, tense, hockey. Still, at this point, the Flyers figure to be a major contender for the Stanley Cup.

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Author: Marc Narducci

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