Quite a Season for the Flyers

Quite a Season for the Flyers
The final loss was so disappointing, but it should not detract from the success the Flyers had this season. They saw their season end with a 4-0 loss to the New York Islanders in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
 
Yes, the Flyers were the top seed, but they faced an Islanders team that wasn’t a great matchup. The Islanders had great speed, depth on three lines and they still needed seven games to beat the Flyers.
 
It was a great series. New York jumped out to a 3 games to 1 lead in their best of seven series. The Flyers responded with consecutive overtime wins. They would win all their games by overtime, beating the Islanders 4-3 in the extra period in Game 2.  
 
The fact that the Flyers fought back to force a seventh game showed great grit. The Flyers looked gassed in Game 7, but credit the Islanders, who came at them at full force from the beginning of the game until the end.
 
Still, the Flyers had an exceptional season. 
 
Remember, they didn’t make the playoffs in 2018-2019, but first-year head coach Alain Vigneault made all the difference in the world. 
 
He called out stars when they weren’t playing well, and helped develop young players.
 
Now the future seems bright if the Flyers can find that one big scorer. It used to be captain Claude Giroux and he is still a very good hockey player, but this was the third straight subpar playoff season after having many highly productive ones early in his career.
 
In the Flyers’ 16 postseason games he had one goal and seven assists.
 
Two other veterans who didn’t produce as expected were Jake Voracek and James van Riemsdyk. In the seven games against the Islanders Voracek had no goals and one assist. During 12 postseason games van Riemsdyk had two goals and no assists. 
 
One of the young stars who struggled in the postseason was Travis Konecny. The Flyers lone all-star this season, Konecny, 23, had no goals and seven assists in 16 postseason games. 
 
Of course, there were several positives beginning with goalie Carter Hart. He was lights-out in the six-game series win against Montreal and very good against the Islanders.
 
At 22, he is he cornerstone of the team. 
 
The Flyers also received a courageous performance from Oskar Lindblom. On Dec. 13, the 24-year-old Swede was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a form of bone cancer. 
 
He wasn’t expected to return, but there was Lindblom on the ice for Game 6, the Flyers 5-4 overtime win. In his first games back Lindblom played 17 minutes and 6 seconds.
 
His presence was one of the most inspiring stories and he was saluted by not only the Flyers but by the Islanders. 
 
Lindblom is considered one of the bright young players who could be part of a team competing for the Stanley Cup for the next several seasons.
 
So is defenseman Ivan Provorov, 23, who had two goals and two assists, including the game-winning goal in Game 6.

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The Flyers still need a proven goal scorer, but so does just about every NHL team. If that happens and if veterans like Giroux and Voracek bounce back from their difficult postseasons, then the Flyers should be a contender next year for the Stanley Cup.

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Author: Marc Narducci

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