Now 5-9-0 in games against the current playoff set, acrimoniously booed off the Wells Fargo Center ice after a sadsack performance against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday, the Philadelphia Flyers find themselves at a crux. Are they a playoff team?
Is this team, that needs to be bailed out by magical timeouts on a daily basis, that can only play 20 minutes on any given night, that cannot get the big save when they need it, a playoff team?
The Flyers need to rebound after a bad loss against the Rangers on Tuesday. The task won't be easy as they host the first place Penguins. It's going to be another bitter, nasty rivalry game and it's gonna be in the city of Brotherly Love
All it takes is one ill-fated blast from the point to ruin a season.
At the time, that unfortunate situation struck Scott Hartnell down on January 24—a 3-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils. A rocket propelled puck off the stick of Kimmo Timonen broke the first metatarsil in his left foot, keeping him out of action for a while.
Hartnell has since returned, and in his return, he has scored a goal and added two assists since then. The team also won two of its last three games in its homestand at the Wells Fargo Center since the #19 orange sweater stepped back onto the ice.
(Pictured: Scott Hartnell celebrates after scoring his first goal on Monday. Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)
Six times the Flyers attempted to get their record back to .500 and six times they have failed so far this season.
At 9-11-1, you have to start to wonder why that has been the case. It happened again last night when the Flyers dropped a home game 4-2 to the Maple Leafs, playing flat for the first 50 minutes of the game.
Is it mental? Are they snake-bitten? Or is this all just one big coincidence? Regardless, the Flyers need to earn every point they can get their hands on because this is a shortened season and every point matters just a little bit more if a team wants to make the playoffs.
(Pictured: Ilya Bryzgalov cannot stop a rebound shot by Mikhail Grabovski in the third period. Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
Getting to .500 has been an uphill battle for the Flyers and it continued on Monday against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
An absolute sluggish outing until the final half of the third period cost the Flyers a chance to even up in the standings and get some much-needed points. And though the Leafs were almost equally as sluggish, they came out with the 4-2 win in Philadelphia.
Perhaps the Flyers are pressing to get to .500, but whatever it is, the effort was poor once again. Head coach Peter Laviolette didn't think they were pressing though.
(Pictured: Jakub Voracek battles with Toronto's Cody Franson in front of goalie Ben Scrivens. Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)
Flyers left winger Scott Hartnell could be back in a Flyers jersey by the following weekend.
As per general manager Paul Holmgren, Scott Hartnell has been cleared to practice with the team. He could return to game action in 7-10 days, which sets a target return date of February 27 against Washington or March 2 versus Ottawa.
Poor play in the third period almost cost the Flyers two points once again.
This time, Danny Briere came to rescue of those points, beating Cam Ward in overtime to send the Flyers to a 4-3 win over Carolina. It was their fourth straight game earning a point, going 3-0-1 on the four-game home stand.
It was also the second straight game the Flyers spend in overtime, having lost to the Panthers 3-2 in a shootout on Thursday.
The Flyers were able to end it before they got to the shootout this time. Briere broke into the zone and skated across the slot, faking a pass to Kurtis Foster before squeezing the wrister through Ward's legs to win the game.
(Picture: Matt Read celebrates after scoring in the second period. AP Photo/Matt Slocum)