The Flyers have finally started to put some wins together. During this stretch, Michael Leighton has been 6-0-1 when he is the starting goaltender and reportedly will be the #1 goaltender for at least another game while Emery goes to the Phantoms to get his game legs back. Leighton has exceeded even my expectations with a 2.28 GAA and has made some game-saving saves at times.
They started off by beating the Lightning, Hurricanes, and Islanders; who are not exactly the top teams the conference has to offer. However, the Flyers came into Madison Square Garden following these victories and took down a tough divisional opponent. This game was the catalyst for a Flyers turnaround and it became apparent that Laviolette’s system was starting to take form. Even the OT loss in Fenway was a solid game played by our boys. The Bruins are a top-tier team and they were playing in front of a very energized home crowd. They followed up that game with a disappointing showing against the Senators with Boucher in net before getting pulled.
The real turning point came the next two games when they had the Leafs and Pens taking out their starting goalies well before the 2nd period even got going. The Flyers offense was starting to take form, and with Michael Leighton playing solid hockey as well as the defense, it’s hard to lose. I noticed how well Lav’s system worked in those two games especially when it came down to the neutral zone play. It was nice to see the Flyers clog the opposing blue line and create turnovers in the neutral zone for some quick breaks and scoring chances. The defense has also done a great job of keeping opponents to the outside and collapsing to protect the front of the net. The Penguins game should be all the proof you need because they went into a hostile building against one of the top teams in the conference who has had their number for a greater part of the last year and pretty much blew them out even with Crosby scoring two goals. It was nice to see them come away with 2 points since the Penguins have already taken 6 from us ths year. They have two more games against them this year, and I’d like to see them get the 4 points.
They have to play tonight in Philadelphia against a struggling Lightning team. The only true way they can show signs of turning it around is by not letting off the throttle at all; no matter the opponent. Guys like Briere, Carter, Gagne, Richards, Giroux, and Van Riemsdyk are finding the net again recently and they need to continue doing so to help this team’s chances of being successful.
The Flyers won’t be having much spotlight on them tonight as the Eagles are playing in a Wild Card match-up against a rivalry of their own as the NFL playoffs kick off today.