The Philadelphia Flyers (28-27-13) head out to St. Louis to duel with the Blues (42-19-5) tonight in the second meeting in 7 days. It was the Flyers who walked away laughing last time after a 3-1 win but since then, everything has changed. A weekend of disappointment has been followed by games where the Flyers just simply aren’t..flying.
The Flyers come into tonight’s fixture after suffering a 2-1 home loss to the Dallas Stars two days ago. The loss pretty much put the nail in the playoffs coffin as they now stand nine points behind Boston with the Bruins still holding two games in hand. Seven days ago, that gap was over half of what it is now. It’s crazy how fast things can change in this league.
The loss on Tuesday could be seen as a representation of the Flyers season overall. Steve Mason was on another level once again.He stopped 37 shots, keeping the Flyers in with a chance of winning. The problem was, as it has been too many times to mention this season, the lack of consistency of the players in front of him.
Mason has been nothing short of exceptional since his return from injury in late February and other than the game against New Jersey, Mason hasn’t conceded more than two goals in a game since the end of January.
At the other end of the ice, Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux, have somewhat fallen off the pace lately. They have started most games so it’s understandable that their fitness or overall performance is going to dip due to fatigue, but after both of them have been in the top five scorers in the league at one stage, it’s saddening that the dip has come at the most crucial point in the season. The problem has been a lack of secondary scoring from the rest of the team. One star doesn’t make a team, if that star has an off day you need the rest of the team the pick up the slack and finish the job. Something that the Flyers have struggled with lately.
In terms of tonight, the Blues are just two points behind Anaheim for the top spot in entire conference with three games in hand, meaning their performance could go one of two ways. They will either decide to rest a few players and ease off tonight realising that they have another two games to find those points and with the Wild and Stars coming up, it could be a lot tougher. On the other hand, they may go all out attack and want to close that gap as quickly as possible, because at the end of the day who want’s to be fighting for every last point come the last few games? Looking at you Philly…
The Flyers simply have to get a result. mason made it clear in the interviews following the Stars defeat that he feels disappointed with the team and they should too. If Mason has another top game, it’s going to be tough for St Louis to score but it’s just a case of whether the Flyers can pick themselves up and make one last charge before waving the white flag.
Prediction- Philadelphia 2-1 St.Louis