One of the main concerns regarding the Flyers this year and last is their great play for small stretches and then being bit by the inconsistency bug throughout the season. A victim of that this year has been long-time Flyer Simon Gagne who was once known for his defensive play as well as his knack for scoring and helping other teammates score. He was plagued by groin injuries this year and had only 8 goals going into the Olympic break. Since then, he’s scored 4 goals and seems to have been playing very well since he scored that OT winner in Jersey. I’ve hinted at this before, but he continues to create scoring chances and shows more confidence with the puck. He’s solving his problems the way he used to; by shooting the puck. Last night he scored the game winner on the powerplay by just getting the puck to the net towards a crashing Mike Richards but it went in anyways. Those kinds of goals can help build on the confidence a player has, and that’s what we will need from him towards the end of the year. You see guys like Claude Giroux last night who got an important game-tying goal with a nifty backhand, and guys like Mike Richards who continues to play like a man on a mission. If these players can be the difference makers for the next month, we’re going to be a team to be reckoned with in the playoffs. The defense needs to continue to be solid and good things will follow.
The Flyers wrap up their homestand against the Bruins tomorrow night and the Blackhawks on Saturday. These are two tough opponents who won’t be as easy to come back from like the Islanders were last night after being up two goals. The Flyers are currently 5 points out of 4th and 5th place (New Jersey and Ottawa respectively). They have potential to battle for a home-ice position come playoff time. We face those two teams one more time each at the end of this month, so those match-ups could potentially be even bigger than just a last-minute grab for 2 points.