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5 Reasons the Philadelphia Flyers Can Make a Stanley Cup Run


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Written by Wayne Cella on March 24, 2012 · 1 Comment

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Claude Giroux has scored 85 points this season and has inserted himself in the discussion for the NHL's Hart Trophy as League MVP.

It has been a long time since the Stanley Cup belonged in Philadelphia. The Flyers have built a long tradition as one of the best organizations in hockey, but the Cups that came so soon in the team’s history have been hard to come by since the days of the Broad Street Bullies. It has certainly not been for a lack of trying. The Flyers have always been an aggressive team that has repeatedly made bold moves to put itself in the best position to win. Sometimes the result is not indicative of the effort. Such is the case with the Flyers. But years of trying and coming up just short have given the team character and a loyal following of fans that literally bleed orange and black.

This season has been an odd one for the Flyers. Despite playing a lineup filled with rookies, reminiscent of the teams from the ’80s, the Flyers find themselves in the mix for another exciting playoff run. Here are 5 reasons to get excited about the Philadelphia Flyers as they get ready to hit the playoffs.

Goaltending

Ilya Bryzgalov has been outstanding in the month of March, playing lights out, like the goalie the team hoped it had acquired. Bryzgalov has traded his quirky persona for a more laid back and focused one. While his quotes are not always as entertaining as they used to be, his play has been absolutely stellar. Bryz heated up at exactly the right time for this team, and the hope is that he can continue to ride his new wave of confidence deep into the postseason. Bryzgalov is 31-14-7 with a 2.45 GAA and a .911 save percentage. Those numbers may seem relatively pedestrian, but when you look at where he was, they’re pretty extraordinary. In the month of March, Bryz is 9-1-1 with a 1.24 GAA and an astounding .956 save %, not to mention 4 shutouts.

Claude Giroux

Claude Giroux has been everything the Flyers needed and much more. G has sparked the Flyers with his outstanding play and leadership. Giroux is currently second in the NHL in scoring with 85 points. There is a ton of talk that the NHL’s Hart Trophy, awarded to the league’s most valuable player will come down to Giroux and Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin. After going through a bit of a funk and not scoring a goal in 12 games, Giroux has righted the ship and played extremely well down the stretch. The Giroux, Hartnell and Jagr line has been dominant this season, and a lot of that has to do with the play-making ability of Giroux.

Scott Hartnellhartnell.jpg

It amazed me then and mystifies me now, but there were a large number of Flyers fans calling for Scott Hartnell to be traded earlier this year. Can you imagine where this team would be without Hartsy had Flyers GM Paul Holmgren complied? Hartnell has scored a career-high 35 goals this year. While the knock on Hartnell has always been that he took stupid penalties and never lived up to expectations, Hartnell has flourished this season and has certainly played like a premier winger in the NHL. Hartnell has probably not gotten the credit that he deserves, but he did earn his first All Star selection this season. A lot of people seem to downplay what he’s done, but on a team that traded away a good bit of its fire power, Hartnell’s contributions have been a necessity this season. And more than just his on-ice play, Hartnell has developed into a leader off the ice as well for the team.

Veteran Leadership

While the Flyers took a huge chance by adding so much youth this season, Paul Holmgren did a fine job of balancing it with veteran leadership. Players like Max Talbot and Jaromir Jagr have brought a lot to the table this season that isn’t always quantifiable on the ice by a statistic. When the team lost its Captain in Chris Pronger for the season, there was genuine concern as to who would assume the leadership role. Well, the answer is everyone. Players like Kimmo Timonen, Andrej Meszaros, Danny Briere and others stepped up and have provided the necessary leadership to guide the team through the rough seas of an 82-game NHL season. When a team relies on rookies as heavily as the Flyers do, it MUST also find the steadying and calming influence of its veterans. This team has that in spades.

Rookie Enthusiasm

The Flyers have gotten over 100 points this season from their rookies. Players like the 24 year old Matt Read have made significant contributions to a team that had serious questions about where the scoring would come from this season. Read currently leads the NHL’s rookie class in goals with 20 and is 5th on the team in scoring. Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier have also played key roles on the team both offensively and defensively. Couturier has already been hailed as one of the most defensively responsible forwards in the NHL, and he is 19 years old. He has gotten significant playing time on the penalty kill and late in games, a role usually reserved for much more seasoned veterans. Schenn was the key piece that sent Mike Richards to the Los Angeles Kings, but was hampered early by a series of injuries. The 2nd half has seen Schenn raise his level of play significantly. While there are expectations that this team can win now, it is just as exciting to think of the Flyers’ future with all of these budding stars on the team.

The NHL’s Stanley Cup Playoffs are a long grinding process. There are no guarantees. Not even for the best of teams. The Flyers seem to finally be hitting their stride at exactly the right time though. As most sports have shown us recently, it’s not about how the team plays in the regular season, it’s about getting hot. The Giants got hot after barely making the NFL playoffs, and won a Super Bowl. The St. Louis Cardinals wouldn’t have made it into the playoffs without the help of the Phillies, and they promptly rewarded them by eliminating the Phillies and marching to a World Series title.

If hot is what counts, the Flyers definitely have a shot.

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The general thinking my most of the so called experts is that nobody can beat Pittsburgh in a 7 game series. I am not convinced. Look at the meltdown in Ottawa and I was at the game when the Sabres hammered them 6-2. But I guess to get out of the East no matter who you are you are going to have to beat Pittsburgh. I am not sold on the Rangers and think they have played over their heads. I do think the Flyers are better than the Rangers. I also believe my team has as good a shot as anyone. Boston of course cant be counted out. I think the winner of the South is gone in round one. Especially if its Florida. So my list of eastern contenders is Pittsburgh, Philly, New Jersy, Boston, Rangers and Buffalo. I do not believe Florida, Ottawa or Washington are good enough because they lack the goaltending. You cannot win without good goaltending

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@Irishjim

They are not going to have an easy road that's for sure, but then again who would have thought that they would lay down and die against the Broons.

My take is we are either getting the Rangers or the Pens in the 1st round. This is going to be the test if you ask me. If they stay healthy they can go on to fight more than likely the Pens or the Rangers.

Too bad Montreal can't get in to clear some of the heavy lifting for the O&B, or as Smytee would say the Black and Orange

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What about #6 - the Philly fans @Irishjim?

Think about it, they could intimidate the opposition players during warm ups, sneak down to their locker room to spread some gravel on the footpath, then go beat up opposing fans as they enter the WFC, grab some beers, and get back to their seats to boo Santa. All before the puck drops.

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The general thinking my most of the so called experts is that nobody can beat Pittsburgh in a 7 game series.

How much of that is because of the generous officiating that the Pens seem to garner in the playoffs? It's become anecdotal.

While the Sabres have been hot and moved into playoff position despite being in the doldrums most of the season, I would root for the Capitals to make the playoffs but for one reason: the damned horn they use to incite the fans to cheer their team to cheer. Eff them if they don't know when or if to cheer, stupid bandwagoners. I live in the DC metro area, and these pseudo fans piss me off.

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Posted · Hidden by aziz, March 27, 2012 - No reason given
Hidden by aziz, March 27, 2012 - No reason given

5 reasons the flyers can make a stanley cup run:

1. pomminville not on their roster

2. roy not on their roster

3. miller not on their roster

4. vanek not on their roster

5. ruff not their coach

aaaand bonus:

6. they don't wear navy blue jerseys

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How much of that is because of the generous officiating that the Pens seem to garner in the playoffs? It's become anecdotal.

While the Sabres have been hot and moved into playoff position despite being in the doldrums most of the season, I would root for the Capitals to make the playoffs but for one reason: the damned horn they use to incite the fans to cheer their team to cheer. Eff them if they don't know when or if to cheer, stupid bandwagoners. I live in the DC metro area, and these pseudo fans piss me off.

How much of that is because of the generous officiating that the Pens seem to garner in the playoffs? It's become anecdotal.

While the Sabres have been hot and moved into playoff position despite being in the doldrums most of the season, I would root for the Capitals to make the playoffs but for one reason: the damned horn they use to incite the fans to cheer their team to cheer. Eff them if they don't know when or if to cheer, stupid bandwagoners. I live in the DC metro area, and these pseudo fans piss me off.

So you I assume like Wash more than Buffalo if you had to chose? Well you live there

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