With the NHL pausing the 2019-20 regular season on March 12 due to the concerns surrounding the coronavirus, NHL.com is taking stock of each of the League’s 31 teams.
Today, a snapshot of the Philadelphia Flyers at the pause:
Record: 41-21-7, 89 points
Playoff position: Second place in Metropolitan Division, one point behind Washington Capitals
The Flyers have been one of the hottest teams in the NHL since the calendar turned to 2020 and have gone from a Stanley Cup Playoff question mark to fighting for first place in the Metropolitan Division.
Since Jan. 8, when they defeated the Capitals 3-2, the Flyers are 19-6-1, tied with the Boston Bruins for the best record in the NHL. That includes a nine-game winning streak from Feb. 18-March 7.
What preceded this run was a rough patch that included being swept on a three-game road trip Dec. 11-15, when they found out that forward Oskar Lindblom, who was tied for the Flyers lead with 11 goals, had been diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a form of bone cancer. Philadelphia also was 1-4-1 from Dec. 28-Jan. 7.
At that point, the Flyers were tied for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference and 15 points behind the NHL-leading Capitals for first place in the Metropolitan Division.
Key to their run since has been the play of goalies Carter Hart and Brian Elliott. Hart is 11-3-0 in his past 14 starts, beginning with the Jan. 8 win against the Capitals, and has allowed two goals or fewer 11 times in that span. Elliott is 7-2-1 with two shutouts in 10 starts in the same stretch.
Hart and Elliott have started 67 of the Flyers’ 69 games this season, after Philadelphia used an NHL-record eight starting goalies last season. Hart has been especially dominant at Wells Fargo Center, going 19-3-2 with a 1.58 goals-against average and .945 save percentage in 24 games.
The Flyers are allowing an NHL-low 28.7 shots on goal per game, down from 32.5 last season, and they are allowing 2.77 goals per game, seventh best in the NHL, considerably better than last season, when they allowed 3.41 per game, third worst.
Like Hart, who is 21, several other younger Flyers have matured into key contributors. Forward Travis Konecny leads Philadelphia with 24 goals and 61 points, and the 23-year-old played in his first NHL All-Star Game. Defenseman Ivan Provorov leads the Flyers in ice time for the fourth straight season (24:50 per game), and the 23-year-old is tied for ninth among NHL defensemen with 13 goals.
Philippe Myers: The 23-year-old defenseman started the season in the American Hockey League after a subpar training camp but has solidified a spot on the second pair since being recalled Oct. 31. He’s tied for second among NHL rookie defensemen with a plus-17 rating and is eighth with 16 points (four goals, 12 assists).
Flyers 7, Capitals 2, Feb. 8: Two days after a lackluster 5-0 home loss to the New Jersey Devils, the Flyers went to Capital One Arena and handed the Capitals their worst loss of the season. Sean Couturier opened the scoring in the first period with the first of his two goals, and after Washington tied it later in the period, Philadelphia scored the next six goals.
Most compelling game
Flyers 4, Chicago Blackhawks 3, Oct. 4: The Flyers played their first game of the season in Europe, at O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic, and their first game under coach Alain Vigneault. Konecny had two goals and an assist, and Hart made 28 saves.