The Flyers continue their hot streak against some of the NHL's top contenders, a run that has come to a surprise.
Despite facing a barrage of shots, the Flyers penalty kill and Steve Mason hold off the St. Louis Blues, 4-1, in Philadelphia Saturday afternoon. It was the fifth straight win for the Flyers, who are 12-2-1 since Feb. 1.
“We’ve proven that we’re a good hockey team," Mason told reporters. "We’re beating teams that come playoff time you’re going to have to go through to the ultimate goal, the Stanley Cup. Guys are gaining confidence from this so it’s a good sign.”
At times, big leads prove to be more difficult to contain than one goal leads. On December 15, the Philadelphia Flyers lost a 4-1 lead en-route to a 5-4 shootout loss to these same scrappy Washington Capitals.
This time, almost blowing a 4-0 lead on home ice, the Flyers survived a difficult third period to overtake the Caps 6-4 on Wednesday night. It was the Flyers' seventh win in the last eight games, Sharks blowout aside.
It has not been a fun year for new Flyer Vincent Lecavalier. Once a long-standing captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning, his contract became a boat anchor under a new CBA and a constricted salary cap. Thus, his time as a full-time Floridian came to an end.
Suitors abounded for this man's services after news of his release. Lecavalier, a first overall pick back in 1998, and once described as the "Michael Jordan of hockey," had a spot on many rosters across the NHL at a bit of a subdued monetary rate.
Flyers GM Paul Holmgren disregarded this, became the highest bidder, and signed a five-year pact worth $22.5 million. 14 goals, 12 assists and 49 games later, fan impatience hit a crescendo when he went long stretches with nary a point to show for it. In a time where nobody was scoring, Lecavalier scored five of his goals during that span.
The Philadelphia Flyers had a rough night on Thursday.
Following a 7-3 drubbing to the San Jose Sharks, the mood in the locker room was filled with disappointment and confusion. Both Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell said after the game that they don't know where it went wrong, but they needed to get back to playing their style of hockey.
Or as Hartnell worded it, "Flyers hockey."
(Photo: Vincent Lecavalier (front) and Kimmo Timonen celebrate after Lecavalier's game-winning goal on Sunday. AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
Over the past several seasons, the Philadelphia Flyers possessed an ability to come back to win games after subpar second period efforts. On Thursday night, after five unaswered goals by the San Jose Sharks, any hope of that happening again was extinguished rather quickly.
A hat trick from American Olympian Joe Pavelski, two goals from Canadian candidate Logan Couture and two goals from Raffi Torres in his season debut crushed the Flyers in a punishing 7-3 rout at the Wells Fargo Center.
There was some concern on whether or not Ray Emery and Andrej Meszaros would be rusty having not played in a while.
They both quieted those concerns on Saturday against Calgary. Emery's 32-save effort held the Flames to a flicker as the Flyers went on to win, 2-1.
Emery made his first start since Jan. 25, a 6-1 drubbing to Boston in which he was pulled. Meszaros found himself in the lineup for the first time in a few games despite the play of Erik Gustafsson, and earned an assist.
The Flyers have the opportunity to head into the Olympic break with a four game winning streak and a spot in the playoffs to lose.
The Flyers won their third straight game on Thursday, beating the Colorado Avalanche 3-1. The rode another stellar performance by Steve Mason, who has allowed three goals in his three starts during the current winning streak.
Mason stopped 38 shots against Colorado to seal the win. His only hiccup came late in the third period when Nathan MacKinnon sneaked a shot between Mason and the left goal post that cut the Flyers lead at the time to 2-1.
It took a "step-in-the-right direction" second period leading to three third period goals, but all ended well in the final leg of a California road trip as the Phialdelphia Flyers defeated the San Jose Sharks 5-2 in comeback fashion.
Four third period goals scored by Matt Read, Michael Raffl, Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek led yet another third period comeback on the road. That mindset broke through on the Flyers' last extended western road trip, and it continued with this trip as well.