The Flyers have gone into full disappearing mode, and the epidemic has spread to the team's leader.
Before the season started, Claude Giroux was slated to be ready to lead the Flyers, getting endorsements from half the veterans on the team. But in the third game of a young but short season, the captain was completely absent from the game, leaving people wondering what happened to Giroux.
In the Flyers 3-0 loss to New Jersey on Tuesday, Giroux's poor play rubbed off on the rest of the team, including two of the Flyers' young, budding forwards Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier.
The NHL is back, and there is no better way to celebrate the return of hockey in Pennsylvania than to have its two bitter rivals battle in the City of Brotherly Love.
The Pittsburgh Penguins will travel to Philadelphia for a 3PM show down at the Wells Fargo Center. The arena will be filled to capacity with nearly 20,000 orange-and-black-clad Flyers fans, with a little yellow sprinkled in the mix.
By the end of his rookie campaign, the 19-year-old was utilized as the Flyers top shut-down forward and was given the weighty responsibility of facing the opponent’s top scoring competition. The most notable instance of this came in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs when Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins was virtually non-existent thanks to Couturier.
Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos reported on Monday that two Pittsburgh Penguins will face disciplinary hearings on Tuesday morning for their actions in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
James Neal will have two hearings at 10am - one for his 3rd period hits on Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux.
Neal left his feet on the hit on Couturier, a hit that was unfounded and unnecessary as the rookie did not have control of the puck and it was nowhere near him. Neal targeted Couturier's head and left the 19-year-old dazed. Couturier left the ice for a few minutes to be tended to, but thankfully returned to finish the rest of the game.
It looked like a blatant attempt to take Couturier out, but Neal claimed it wasn't intentional.
Heading into the third game of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, the Philadelphia Flyers have momentum on their side. Despite trailing the Pittsburgh Penguins by two goals or more in the first two games, the resilient group battled back in both and have taken a 2-0 series lead.
On Sunday, the two teams will meet for Game 3. The Flyers have already established their dominance over the Penguins, and have done so in dramatic fashion. They will be looking to make it three wins in a row, while the Penguins will hope to find their footing and earn their first victory of the series.
The Flyers had a 2-1 record against the Penguins at home and a 22-13-6 record overall in the Wells Fargo Center during the regular season, while Pittsburgh had a 22-15-4 road record.
Pittsburgh was the 2nd highest-scoring team on the road this season with 127 goals, while the Flyers were the 3rd highest-scoring home team with 139.
As the seconds ticked off the clock in the second period, the Flyers trailed 3-1 to the Penguins in Game 1.
It was a seemingly insurmountable deficit with the way Pittsburgh controlled the play through the first two periods with their physical bullying style of play.
The Flyers needed someone to step up and stand up to the bull and Brayden Schenn did just that, both metaphorically and literally.
Schenn was charged by Penguins forward Craig Adams with only seconds remaining on the clock. Schenn turned around and absorbed all of the hit, knocking Adams on his rear-end as Schenn stood over him and smiled.
Schenn then got in the face of Adams, goading a shove to the face that wasn’t called and skated away with a smirk on his face after the referees separated the two.
That could have been the turning point for the Flyers, who came back from a 3-0 deficit to win 4-3 in overtime.
The Flyers are considered to be buyers in the coming weeks as the trade deadline rolls near.
Players like Nashville’s Ryan Suter and Shea Weber as well as Toronto’s Luke Schenn have been mentioned in numerous possible trade situations and rumors. But in the end, will it all matter for the Flyers?
Before this turns into a column writing off the Flyers, take a step back and look at the situation the team is in. They are currently eight points behind the Rangers for the Atlantic Division lead while resting with the fourth seed.
But on the other side of the Flyers, they are only eight points ahead of the ninth place Capitals. The Flyers could very easily be in the bottom half of the playoff tree when April rolls around and their possible match ups could spell doom.
Sean Couturier slipped down to the eighth overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. How has Couturier fared in the NHL compared to guys like Nugent-Hopkins and Landeskog? Better than you may think, considering he was drafted behind all of them.