While the Flyers core needs to step up, there’s one player who refuses to get knocked down

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This Flyers vs. Penguins playoff series had people around the Philadelphia region pumped before it began. Pumped as the Flyers were finally being back in the playoffs after taking a one year hiatus. Some proud orange clad fans thought the orange and black would knock Sidney Crosby and the Penguins on their bottoms, and well make Crosby cry. Well, its been anything but.

As the series has progressed between these two interstate rivals, one thing has become very clear. The Flyers core of Wayne Simmonds, Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, and Sean Couturier are just not or near the same level as the Penguins core in Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, and Patrick Hornqvist. The Flyers core is virtually non-existent on the stat sheet. It appears the engine that has run the Flyers is out of gas.

It became very apparent after game 4 that the core players for the Flyers looked tired. They simply cannot keep up with the well conditioned, and it appears more talented Penguins team. One major key to a series upset over the Penguins was the Flyers core had to keep pace with the Penguins core. Unfortunately, with only 7 points combined for the Flyers core, compared to the Penguins 20 points combined for their core. This simply isn’t good enough for the orange and black to upset this back-to-back Stanley Cup Juggernaut. Yes, I know Couturier missed game 4 with a leg injury, but Hornqvist also missed game 4 with an upper body injury.

The one player that has busted his butt shift after shift for the Flyers has been a rookie in Nolan Patrick. He’s not out of gas as he fights his way along the boards, skates in between some Penguins players, and well makes stuff happen. He has 1 goal, and 1 assist to speak of for this playoff season, but he never gives up and keeps fighting like a player donning a Flyers sweater is supposed to do.

I didn’t try to change anything,Nolan Patrick stated after game 4.Just play the way I usually do and try to compete as hard as I can.”

Patrick continues,Well we had some good spurts. We’d make a mistake and then it end up in our net. Obviously it’s disappointing. Nobody’s quitting in this room. We’re not feeling sorry for ourselves. We know the position we’re in. We’re going to try to bounce back here.”

Look at what this young budding star in Patrick is saying. He’s speaking as if he was one of the leaders in the locker room trying to rally the troops. Patrick has really stepped it up in the playoffs thus far, and should be given free reigns to make stuff happen.

We actually spoke with Nolan Patrick prior to the NHL Draft and much of what he said back then holds up now more than ever.

To the fans I’m a passionate guy. I want to win. I know they want to win. You’re getting an energy type player who works very hard. I stop at nothing, and just want to succeed.”

If the Flyers want to continue this series past game 5, then this young Flyers team needs their core to step it up now more than ever. Some of this core has proved it in the past that their more than capable of such. Now they need to act upon it once again, as their playoff lives are now on life support.

 

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

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