There are really two extremes when it comes to schools of thought regarding early season play. Some will look at the early results and determine that it doesn’t actually say much about where a team’s going, whereas others will make sweeping declarations about a team’s fate after just a few games. In the case of the Philadelphia Flyers, it’s hard not to fall victim to the latter.
The Flyers have lost their first two games of the season, failing to attain a point in either contest. They’ve been outscored 8-5 in those two games. It’s just two games, though. Whatever, right? Well, given the fact that the Flyers had a similar issue early on last year, and what this team looks like on paper, there’s probably cause for concern, even if it is this early on.
Things aren’t going to get easier for the Flyers, either. Their offense has produced through two games with those five goals. Wayne Simmonds continues to establish himself as a star, and at least we don’t have to worry about the Claude Giroux goal watch, as was the case last year. He has a pair of points in two games. Add in Jakub Voracek, Sean Couturier, etc. and the Flyers aren’t going to have a problem scoring goals as the season wears on. Keeping them out, however, is a primary concern and one that could continue to lead to a rough start for this club.
It’s only two games, but Steve Mason has a 3.59 goals against average and a save percentage of just .879. Ray Emery is starting on Saturday night as the Flyers already hope to turn things around. Braydon Coburn, the team’s best defenseman, is already out. Original prognosis indicated he could be out for weeks, but his injury suffered in the season opener does not appear to be as serious. Nonetheless, an already mediocre blue line without its no. 1 d-man is a recipe for disaster.
All in all, though, these first two games have really been a mixed bag. Philly’s Corsi% against the Boston Bruins in their opener was just barely over 43 percent, while they flipped it and were over 56 percent against the New Jersey Devils. At the same time, though, their upcoming schedule gives an indication that they could be in for more possession and shot attempts that don’t exactly favor them, such as what was seen in their 2-1 loss against the Bruins.
On Saturday night, the Flyers will play host to one of the Eastern Conference’s best, the Montreal Canadiens. They’ll then meet three of the four Western Conference opponents for the month, in consecutive fashion. All of the Anaheim Ducks, Dallas Stars, Chicago Blackhawks, and Los Angeles Kings represent some of the best the West has to offer, especially the latter two. Add in tilts with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning and things really do not look favorable for the Flyers moving forward throughout the first month of the season.
Consider the fact that the Flyers actually got the majority of the offensive zone starts against Boston, and still surrendered more than 56 percent of the game’s total shot attempts. Braydon Coburn is still out indefinitely, even if it isn’t as serious as originally though. There’s no sense of consistency in goal. It’s only two games, but you do get the sense, given their upcoming schedule, that the Flyers are in real trouble here.
Can their potent offense bail them out of what appears to be yet another slow start to the season? Stay tuned.