If you haven’t noticed, the Philadelphia Flyers are surging. Just recently, they were hanging on for a Wild Card, but now are challenging Washington for first place in the Metro Division. Currently, they are riding a 6-game win streak, and are firing on all cylinders. They are 6th in goals scored per game, and 11th in goals allowed per game.
I saw something mind boggling while surfing Twitter. According to analytics site moneypuck.com, the Flyers are FAVORITES TO HOIST LORD STANLEY’S CUP!!! Wait, what?
I know, just another reason to get our hopes up. It’s been 45 years since the Broad Street Bullies last won the cup, and there has been a lot of heartbreak since. The Flyers haven’t had a legitimately competitive team since the early part of last decade, and have been very disappointing. Since they won an emotional first round series against the rival Penguins in 2012, it’s been all downhill since.
After the hire of Alain Vigneault, and some key additions such as Kevin Hayes and some exciting young players, we hoped that it would lead to some improvement. But nowhere did I believe that this team was ready to win a Cup, at least yet.
The data says that the Flyers have a better chance than anyone else.
Obviously, there’s no way to predict the future. However, this is pretty remarkable. One way or another, we should feel real optimism about the future of the Flyers. With the youth movement on this team, fans were largely looking to next year and beyond. With the fact that this team can compete now, the development speeds up. Also, they’re doing this without some key players. Nolan Patrick has missed much of the season so far, and Oskar Lindblom was a goal scoring machine until beginning cancer treatment. Patrick returning would be a massive boost.
On Wednesday night, the Flyers have a big game against the division leading Capitals. The Caps and Pens have battled at the top of the Metro for the last few years, and have also combined for 3 of the last 4 Stanley Cups. Nobody really thought that the Flyers would be ready to crash that party yet, but here they are.
The Flyers have been especially tough on home ice, so playoff seeding is very important. It would benefit them to finish the regular season as strong as possible.
Anything can happen in the NHL Playoffs (which might be my favorite playoffs of the 4 major North American sports). Goaltending has been an issue in the past. A healthy Carter Hart would ensure that is no longer the case.
This is a complete and well balanced team that gets production from the entire roster, and that is dangerous in the playoffs. Let’s see what happens.