The good, the great, and the not so great in Flyers three-game win streak

The Philadelphia Flyers head into the All Star Break riding a three game winning streak after defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1, one night after scoring twice in the third period to beat the New York Rangers on the road (where they have struggled this year).  The Flyers showed grit, resolve and heart in winning all three of their games this week as they are now back in the playoff picture sitting at the number eight seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Good:
Timely scoring:
Flyers All Star Wayne Simmonds’ power play goal in the third period against the Rangers and Roman Lyubiumov’s goal with 2:37 remaining in regulation against the Maple Leafs turned out to be the game winners. Third period goals have been a struggle for the orange and black. It’s nice to see the team step up and show the heart and determination that’s needed to get them into the playoffs.  

Often criticized, they played well in the third period of both games. The unit held the Rangers to seven shots on Wednesday and the Leafs to nine on Thursday. Solid team defense with forwards getting back to help with defensive zone coverage is vital to their success. 

The Great:

The Flyers goaltenders burst back onto the scene this week and played extremely well, especially Mason. He was the best player on the ice against the Rangers, finishing with 34 saves and a number of highlight reel stops.  His crucial stop on a wide open Michael Grabner in the first and then his right arm save on Rick Nash’s deflection in the second set the tone for the team.  Neuvirth was solid against the Maple Leafs, although the tying goal by Toronto was a bit soft.  He made the saves he had to in a game the team had to win.

The Not So Great:
Slow starts:
The Flyers simply could not keep up with the Rangers speed and fore check in the first period and as a result were outshot 17-3 through the first 17 minutes of the game. Luckily, Mason played arguably his best game of the season making the timely stops they needed. The Flyers played with great urgency in the third period, but they need better starts. The start against the Maple Leafs wasn’t much better as they were only able to muster six shots on goal in the first, but were fortunate that rookie Travis Konecney sprung Simmonds for his team leading 21st of the season.
The Flyers are now off until Tuesday when they return from the break in Carolina to play the Hurricanes, another team the Flyers will be fighting with for a playoff spot.  Its their only road game before playing five in a row at home that will help determine which way General Manager Ron Hextall wants to go as the trade deadline looms. If the Flyers play like they did this week, especially the way Mason carried them in two of the three wins, it’s going to be an exciting last couple of months and they should be fighting for a playoff spot right up until April.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports