With only 19 games remaining in the 2019-20 regular season, the Philadelphia Flyers are currently in third place in the Metropolitan Division with a record of 36-20-7. They have won nine of their last twelve games and their last four in a row. Whether it is Carter Hart’s return from injury, Claude Giroux finally heating up, or the brilliant play of Kevin Hayes, there are a multitude of factors that have played a part in the Flyers’ recent success. The resilient play of the team’s defensive corps is one that has been very prominent.
Since the very first game of the season, the Philadelphia blueliners have been quite impressive. They have consistently shut down some of the most dangerous playmakers in the NHL. They’ve put their bodies on the line night after night to block shots (466 of the 756 total blocks by the Flyers so far in 2019-20) and stop plays, and contributed heavily on the offensive end.
The first defensive pairing of Ivan Provorov and Matt Niskanen has been one of the preeminent defensive duos in the NHL this season. Both defensemen are playing some of their finest hockey and have the potential to record career-best seasons. The two of them have really benefited from being paired together in 2019-20.
However, Provorov and Niskanen are just the tip of the iceberg. From top to bottom, the entire Flyers defensive corps has played phenomenally this season and has really been a significant contributor to the team’s current hot streak.
Looking at the defense during the Flyers’ recent success, more specifically the last ten games for each individual defenseman, provides a great snapshot of the type of work this group has been putting in all season.
Matt Niskanen: 8 assists, 8 points; +4; 19 Hits; 13 Blocks; 21:52 Average Ice Time
Justin Braun: 8 assists, 8 points; +8; 16 Hits
Ivan Provorov: 2 goals, 3 assists, 5 points; Power Play Goal; 12 Hits; 16 Blocks; 24:35 Average Ice Time
Robert Hagg: 2 goals, 3 assists, 5 points; Power Play Goal; +7; 24 Hits; 17 Blocks
Travis Sanheim: 1 goal, 4 assists, 5 points; +2; 11 Hits; 19 Blocks
Philippe Myers: 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 points; 18 Hits; 18:20 Average Ice Time
All six players seem to have synchronized themselves into one of the most lethal defenses in the league during one of the most significant periods of the season. There is no better time than now for this caliber of play. If the defensive corps continues to thrive, the Flyers’ stars keep up their level of production, and the bottom six centers (Nate Thompson, Derek Grant) acquired at the trade deadline shore up the remaining cracks in the offense, the Philadelphia Flyers will be a legitimate threat come playoff time.
Mandatory Credit – Alex McIntyre