How One Goal Changed The Philadelphia Flyers’ Season
The Philadelphia Flyers started out the season with a very favorable schedule, playing 10 of their first 16 games on home ice at the Wells Fargo Center — the building in which the Flyers had a record of 128-73-28 over the past six seasons. With the offseason addition of Vincent Lecavalier and the solid goaltending tandem of Steve Mason and Ray Emery, the Flyers were set for a good start.
Philadelphia stumbled out of the starting blocks losing all but one of the preseason games. Confidence had started to fade when the club fired coach Peter Laviolette after only the third game of the season. The early season struggles continued as the Flyers just could not score leading them to a 2-7 record after the first nine home games.
The season would take the turn for the better at the 11:26 mark of the third period on Saturday, Nov. 9 as the Flyers were in a battle with the also struggling Edmonton Oilers at the Wells Fargo Center. Captain Claude Giroux picked up a loose puck in the Flyers zone and took it coast-to-coast before beating Oilers goaltender Devan Dubnyk on the blocker side (pictured above) to put Philly up 3-1. The goal was the first of the season for Giroux and ultimately was the game-winner in that 4-2 Flyers win.
That win was the spark for the Flyers and coach Craig Berube, who have gone 18-7-3 since that game climbing all the way into second place in the Metropolitan Division. The Flyers have not lost at home since that Edmonton game — a stretch of 10 consecutive wins.
In the first nine home games for Philadelphia this year, the team scored a total of 11 goals, seven of which were scored in the first period. The Flyers would start out well, but could not find the target in the second and third periods. Meanwhile, their opponents were lighting the lamp like it was going out of style. Opponents outscored Philadelphia 22-to-4 in the final two periods of Flyers’ home games.
On top of that as a team the Flyers averaged a -3 on plus/minus with Giroux himself at a -8.
All that though has changed for the Flyers who are scoring 3.9 goals per game during this home winning streak while outshooting their opponents by nearly seven shots per game. While Giroux and Jakub Voracek are leading the way with a combined 27 points, Philadelphia is getting contributions from everybody on the team. Every skater who has logged ice time during the winning streak has at least one point.
Credit needs to go to the goaltending, as well mostly towards Mason, who has appeared in nine of the 10 wins with a goals against average of 1.78 and a save percentage of 93.5 percent.
The Flyers have a tough test this Saturday when the Tampa Bay Lightning come to town for a 1:00 p.m. ET faceoff. If Philadelphia can get by them, then the winning streak could balloon up to 14 with looming home games against the Nashville Predators, New York Islanders and Carolina Hurricanes before the Boston Bruins come to town two weeks from Saturday.