Philadelphia Flyers’ progress cause for cautious optimism

Philadelphia Flyers Danny Briere

Eric Hartline – US Presswire

The Philadelphia Flyers knew that a 48-game season meant that every matchup would be tied to added significance. After a slow start, Peter Laviolette’s ice boys have now earned seven out of their last eight available points.

With a record of 5-6-1, the Flyers have moved back into the playoff mix. No one is forgetting that it’s only February and that there are 36 games left in this shortened season. Working backwards from those 72 available points allows everyone to see that gaining a place among the eight postseason Eastern Conference teams is realistic, but won’t be easy.

Ilya Bryzgalov surrendered two shootout goals to the Florida Panthers, which cost the Flyers a point on Thursday. While he has continued to play well, ”Bryz” hasn’t been as spectacular as he had been earlier in the season.

On the plus side: After beating the Carolina Hurricanes for the second consecutive home Saturday, it appears as though a formerly challenged offensive unit might be showing some signs of life.

Brayden Schenn, Matt Read and Jakub Voracek all scored regulation goals against the Hurricanes. Those three forwards will need to produce regular results if this team is to put winning streaks together.

As he continues to work his way back from a lockout injury, Danny Briere scored the game-winning overtime goal to beat Carolina 4-3. One of the team’s most dynamic players, “Danny B” is the second major key to the Flyers’ offensive survival.

Philadelphia could thrive if their top player, Claude Giroux, is able to break out of his “slump”. While “G” hasn’t played horribly, he surely hasn’t looked like himself this season.

Taking on the “C” has made an impact. Considering Giroux’s deep skill set, he’s likely to awake from hibernation and explode soon.

Follow Sean on Twitter @SeanyOB, Facebook, Google+ and read his blog Insight.

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