Let’s take a trip down memory lane. This time last year, the Flyers sat dead last in the Metropolitan division, in the Eastern Conference, and 30th out of 31 NHL teams.
We never said we were strolling down “Fond” memory lane.
Fast forward an entire calendar year, and the Flyers are now tied for fifth in the Metropolitan division, ninth in the Eastern Conference, and 15th in the NHL. They’re dominant at home, but yielding too much on the road. So goes the ups and down of an NHL season.
The Flyers have been very difficult to judge this season. When they’re hot, they’re beating the top three teams in the league, all in one week. When they’re not, they’re dropping five out of six on a west coast road trip. Calling the season a roller coaster is tiresome. It’s now an enigma.
One thing that will determine whether the season is successful, however, is how they play against the best of the best. So far, the Flyers are 7-8-5 against the top three teams from all NHL divisions combined. Last season, they were 11-17-5. Let’s break this down a little more extensively.
Last year, the Flyers played the Nashville Predators, Winnipeg Jets, and St. Louis Blues a combined six times. The record against all teams combined was 2-4-0. The Flyers accumulated a mere four points out of a possible 12.
This season, the Flyers have played the St. Louis Blues, Colorado Avalanche, and Dallas Starts a combined three times, one per team. The Flyers have won one contest, while losing one apiece to Colorado and Dallas. With three games left to play against Central division foes, the Flyers have a chance at six more points. If they stay the course and perform to 2018/19’s standard, they end up with the same record (2-4-0).
Last season, the Flyers accumulated a 1-2-3 record against the top three teams from the Pacific division. Those teams were the Calgary Flames, San Jose Sharks, and the Vegas Golden Knights. Taking five out of a possible 12 points, the Flyers didn’t make out well against the west.
This season against Calgary, the Arizona Coyotes, and the Vancouver Canucks, the Flyers have bode even worse. With a 1-3-2 record, the Flyers only nabbed four out of a possible 12 points against the Pacific division leaders. With no games left to play against their Western Conference foes, the Flyers have no room left to improve on that record.
Last season against the best of the Atlantic division, the Flyers were mediocre. After three games apiece against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins, and Toronto Maple Leafs, the Flyers had a 3-4-2 record, accumulating eight out of 18 possible points.
This season against the same teams, the Flyers already have surpassed the previous year’s points total. Going 4-1-1 so far, the Flyers have nine of a possible 12 points. With three games remaining against the trio from the Atlantic division, the Flyers can only improve on their mark from last season.
Against divisional foes, the Flyers, again, were mediocre last season. The orange and black went a combined 5-7-0 against the Washington Capitals, New York Islanders, and Pittsburgh Penguins. Snagging 10 of a possible 24 points is less than ideal, but they’ve done worse.
This season has been a bit underwhelming for more than one reason. Their record against the same trio of teams is less than impressive (1-2-2). Also, they have seven more games left to play against these three teams combined. It’s a bit early to draw any conclusions with so much hockey left to play.
With 10 games remaining against the top teams in each Eastern Conference division, and three games remaining against the tops in the Western Conference, the Flyers still have time to improve on their record against the league’s elite. If they can, expect this team to make some noise down the stretch, and potentially slide their way into a playoff spot come April.
Mandatory Credit – © Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports