The Philadelphia Flyers and Toronto Maple Leafs have each played 22 regular season games, which is more than any other National Hockey League team. During any normal hockey year that statistic wouldn’t be overly worrisome. During this shortened season, it surely is.
If Peter Laviolette’s squad had been able to earn approximately 30 points to-date they would be sitting atop the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference. More importantly, his team would also have created a cushion to compensate for the games-in-hand a variety of the playoff competition currently holds.
The March schedule begins to play out this Saturday with a home game against the Ottawa Senators. That contest is the first of eight games that will be played at the Wells Fargo Center during the month. There are only five road games scheduled during these next 31 days.
After grinding their way through nearly half of the schedule, from January 19, 2013 through February 27, the “Bullies” will enjoy an odd five-day vacation after flying to face the Tampa Bay Lightning on March 18. Their next game isn’t scheduled to take place until March 24 against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Consol Energy Center.
All conversation that surrounds any team’s schedule merely hopes to find favorable points, while also honestly preparing for what lies ahead. Regardless of planned contests, the organization and its fans know that the current roster doesn’t appear to be deep enough to play consistently under any iced agenda.
The Flyers have generated the third-best offensive output in the League. Their defensive efforts have earned the twenty-seventh spot in the NHL. Those unbalanced digital sheets won’t allow playoff access under most circumstances, even in this unusual year.
Philadelphia’s current month’s schedule does favor steady point accumulation. As to whether the players on this roster, or any men who will be added along the way, can combine to earn 18 out of a possible 26 points is one question that needs to be answered.