Philadelphia Flyers: Strong showings against top-tier teams

The Philadelphia Flyers have lost two straight games against the Boston Bruins and the St. Louis Blues. Despite the results, the losses were more positive than negative.

Philadelphia would certainly prefer to have walked away with two points in either game, but the cards didn’t fall that way. Instead, the Flyers forced shootouts in both, and were defeated in both.

The Bruins and Blues are the only two teams in the NHL who have earned 50 or more wins on the season, and are two top contenders for the Stanley Cup.

So why were these losses positive?

Philadelphia stole two crucial points from these games by making it to overtime in each.

With it being crunch time in the NHL, every game is a must win. Unfortunately, Philadelphia didn’t win either, but they didn’t go home empty handed.

The Flyers faced an Eastern Conference rival in Boston Sunday afternoon. Boston is the hottest team in the NHL. Entering that game, the Bruins had won 14 of their last 15 matches, securing at least one point in all 15.

The Bruins also looked to set a franchise record for most consecutive road wins, which they were able to accomplish.

This looked to be a daunting task for Philadelphia, but they are much more point hungry than Boston, who has already secured their place in the playoffs.

Throughout the game, the Flyers’ shot an amazing 71 times, and put 52 of those on net, giving Bruin goalie Tuukka Rask quite the challenge.

Boston had looked like they would take the two points and walk out of Philadelphia with a new franchise record, but Vincent Lecavalier was able to net an errant puck with less than 30 seconds left to send the game to overtime, securing a crucial point for Philadelphia.

Heading into yesterday’s game against St. Louis, the Flyers sat two points behind the New York Rangers in third place. The Columbus Blue Jackets, however, were close behind, trailing by only four points.

New York was able to come away with a win in their game, so getting at least a point in St. Louis became a must for the Flyers.

The first three periods resulted in a stalemate because of strong showings from both goaltenders. Flyers fans prayed for a win, but were happy to see the team walk away with at least a point.

T.J. Oshie and Kevin Shattenkirk netted goals in the shootout, while the Flyers were held goalless.

Philadelphia should not hang their heads low after either game. St. Louis and Boston are arguably the two best teams in hockey, and to capture a point against both of them is an impressive achievement.

The Flyers now sit three points behind New York, who is going to try and pull away from Philadelphia and secure home ice against their first round playoff opponent.

Columbus lost in overtime last night, so they remain four points behind Philadelphia in the last wildcard spot in the East.

Philadelphia will face Columbus next at home, and the game will be hard fought by both teams. Columbus is on the brink of being knocked out of the playoffs, so they are a bit more point hungry than Philadelphia.

The Flyers need just six more points to clinch a playoff berth. With a win against the Jackets, they  would separate themselves by six points from the Metropolitan Division’s highly contested wild card spot.

They also face the Buffalo Sabres and Florida Panthers in their next set of games. These are two games the Flyers should win.

With two less games on the season than New York, a strong finish would not only put Philadelphia in the playoffs, but also help them sneak into second place in the Metro, giving them home ice in round one.

HartnellDown Tracker: Scott currently sits at 248 HartnellDowns on the season.