The Philadelphia Flyers still have a few games left in the month of December, but it’s never too early to look into the future and see how their opponents stack up over the coming January month.
The Flyers play 13 games, 6 away and 7 at home, in the first month of the new year. Three of those games take place against opponents who are leading their respective divisions. Two of those games take place in the first 8 days of the month, and are only three days apart. The Flyers host the Pacific division leading Calgary Flames on January 5th, who are boasting a 22-12-3 record with 47 points. Their first meeting saw Calgary overcome a 5-3 deficit in the last 1:08 of regulation, and win it in overtime 6-5.
The Flyers then travel to Washington D.C. to take on the Metropolitan division leading Capitals. The Caps are 22-10-3 for a Metro best 47 points, and have had the Flyers number in D.C., going 7-4 against the Flyers, including the 2016 playoffs, since the 2015-16 season. However, over that same span, the Flyers and Caps have each won 11 games against each other, including the playoff series, so any game between the two is usually a crap shoot, and is guaranteed to see some sparks fly as well.
Towards the end of the month, the Flyers host the Central division leading Winnipeg Jets. Winnipeg stands at 24-10-2 with 50 points to show. Winnipeg hosted the Flyers earlier this month on December 9th, and drubbed the Flyers 7-1, chasing Michal Neuvirth in the process. The Flyers have won 9 of their last 13 games against Winnipeg, dating back to the 2012-13 season, and have won all 6 contests against the Jets when they travel to Philadelphia.
Sprinkled in between these three games is a game against the Nashville Predators, who are likely looking for revenge following their 2-1 loss against the Flyers and a debuting Carter Hart. Nashville is holding down 2nd place in the Central division of the Western conference. The Flyers have four divisional games against the aforementioned Washington Capitals, Carolina Hurricanes, New Jersey Devils, and the New York Rangers. They play two foes from the Atlantic division in the Montreal Canadiens and the Boston Bruins twice.
The Flyers remaining four games in January are against Central division opponents. They take on the St. Louis Blues, the Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, and the already mentioned Winnipeg Jets.
In January’s past, the Flyers have been somewhat successful, taking just over a point per game, on average, over the past ten years. The same trend holds true over the past five years. Over the last five seasons, the Flyers have had a total of 65 games in the month of January, and have accumulated 71 out of a possible 130 points.
If the trend continues, the Flyers could take home around 14 points in the first month of the 2019 year, putting them at 48 points on the year with 31 games remaining on the slate. It wouldn’t put the Flyers in prime position to be contenders down the stretch, but while under former head coach Dave Hakstol, the Flyers proved that they are a second half of the season type of team. The orange and black have made pushes during the final stretch of the 2017-18, and 2015-16 seasons to make it into the playoffs, and it’s looking like this may be another one of those seasons where it comes down to the final week of the regular season, or maybe even the final game.
With the February and March months looking a tad easier on the eyes currently, the Flyers need to kick it into high gear during the month of January if they hope to be in a position to make the playoffs this year. If not, they could end up missing the playoffs for the 4th time since the 2012-13 season, and just the 6th time since the 1993-94 NHL season.
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports