When things are going right offensively for the Flyers, their depth in the front nine really shows.
Matt Read, Sean Couturier and Steve Downie - The Checking Line - provided some much needed fire power at the end of the second period to give the Flyers a boost en route to a 4-1 win over the Sabres on Thursday.
Read scored two goals in the span of 1 minute, 40 seconds, and Steve Downie and Sean Couturier had the primary and secondary assists respectively on both goals. The goals came in the final six minutes of the second, erasing a 1-0 Buffalo lead.
(Photo: Matt Read [middle celebrates with [left to right] Steve Downie, Sean Couturier, Braydon Coburn and Kimmo Timonen after Read's second goal late in the second period. Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Behind another strong performance by Steve Mason and an offensive outburst, the Flyers were able to extend their point streak to five games and have now collected 12 of 16 possible points in their last eight games.
In fact, since the disastrous 7-0 loss at the hands of the Washington Capitals on Nov. 1, the Flyers have gone 5-1-2 and now sit just two points back from what would have them in playoff positioning.
(Photo: The Flyers celebrate Kimmo Timonen's first goal of the season, which proved to be the game-winner in the third period. Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Patience is something that is not in the Philadelphia Flyers vocabulary.
Flyers Chairman Ed Snider has not been the model of patience for the Flyers. For years now the team has been in “win now” mode at the expense of future development.
But two years ago, the team shuffled their roster and radically changed their direction, acquiring younger players, prospects and picks. With young players comes growing pains and unfortunately for the Flyers, these players such as Sean Couturier and Wayne Simmonds, are struggling.
With the team’s struggles early in this season, there have been calls for a roster shakeup.
The Philadelphia Flyers may have one of the deepest center combinations in the entire National Hockey League.
Captain Claude Giroux had a “subpar” lockout shortened year, but still registered 48 points in just as many games. Giroux is just a year removed from a career-high of 28 goals, 93 points and it would not be out of the realm of possibility that he eclipses both this season.
With more players able to play the penalty kill, it seems likely that Giroux will get less time on the PK, opening him up to doing what he does best: playmaking.
(Photo: Flyers captain Claude Giroux will man the top line again this season. Photo by John Russo/The Checking Line)
Sean Couturier has always been a prized possession in the eyes of general manager Paul Holmgren, surviving numerous trade talks.
Couturier will now be in a Flyers uniform a bit longer. The Flyers have extended the contract of the 20-year-old center for the next two years following the 2013-14 season.
Couturier's extension is worth $3.5 million over two seasons. Couturier is expected to go into camp this season, his third in the NHL, as the Flyers third center behind recently extended captain Claude Giroux and the newly signed Vincent Lecavalier.
The Jeff Carter trade is the gift that keeps on giving.
Everyone remembers where they were when the trade happened, and know all too well the details of that trade. Jakub Voracek and a pair of draft picks were traded from the Columbus Blue Jackets to Philadelphia for the talented center.
The 2011 first round pick, 8th overall, turned into center Sean Couturier, who made a major impact in his first two seasons. The less heralded third round pick (63rd overall) turned out to be another center by the name of Nick Cousins, who will be looking to make an impact in the near future as well.
Just one day after buying out Ilya Bryzgalov, the Philadelphia Flyers are already being linked to a netminder that could replace Bryzgalov.
According to Josh Rimer of Sportsnet, the Flyers are discussing a potential deal involving Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller. It is unclear what stage the talks are currently in but it appears that there is significant interest from both sides.
Miller posted a 17-17-5 record with a 2.81 goals-against-average and a .915 save percentage during the 2012-2013 season. Over his career, the American goalie has a 269-164 record with a 2.59 goals-against-average and a .915 save percentage. The American netminder made $6.25 million this past season and carries a similar price tag to Bryzgalov.
Miller was the 138th overall pick in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft out of Michigan State and has played with the Sabres for all 11 seasons of his professional career. The former Spartan was a member of the silver medal United States team in the 2010 Winter Olympics and was the MVP of the tournament.
The Flyers came to a crossroads two offseasons ago.
They could have gone in one or two directions. One side of the path had them rebuilding the team, pushing a youth movement that would make them a dangerous contender in a couple years. The other path was the same win-now mentality the Flyers have had for the last two decades, resulting in a couple Stanley Cup berths and a handful of Conference Finals appearances.
Unfortunately, general manager Paul Holmgren tried to travel down both paths at once and wound up falling flat on his face this season.
(Photo: Wayne Simmonds (front) and Sean Couturier (back) were both a part of the youth movement. Photo by John Russo/The Checking Line)
Flyers fans will always remember where they were on June 23, 2011 when two of the biggest trades in team history took place.
In some ways it feels like an eternity ago, while in other ways it feels like just yesterday. But forget who and what left Philadelphia that Thursday afternoon two years ago.
The only thing that still matters most today is the acquisition of the 1st round draft pick that became Sean Couturier and the acquisition of 21 year old Brayden Schenn.
The trades changed the face of the franchise, and suddenly the Flyers became a team of youth with not only two but three of the best rookies in the NHL during the 2011-12 season thanks to those trades and the slick signing of college free agent Matt Read almost exactly three months prior.
That trio of rookie forwards shined in Philadelphia throughout the 2011-12 season, and the future was looking bright. But unfortunately what happens to even the best players in the NHL after a stellar rookie season is the dreaded sophomore slump.
(Sean Couturier. Photo by John Russo/The Checking Line)