Flyers' Big Three Are Back, Just In Time
The Flyers’ top line looks like its old self again.
After a stagnant few games where Scott Hartnell, Claude Giroux, and Jaromir Jagr were barely noticeable on the ice, they’ve bounced back.
In their last five games, the three have combined for 16 points.
Unfortunately, the Flyers have only won two of their last five games, despite the production from their top line.
One of their biggest issues of late has been consistency throughout the lineup, and that is something that needs to change starting on Saturday afternoon, when they take on the New York Rangers.
The Flyers (31-16-7) have struggled mightily against the Rangers (34-13-5) this season, having lost four straight to their division rivals.
Right now, the Rangers are atop the Eastern Conference, and only one point behind the league-leading Detroit Red Wings.
If the Flyers can finally figure out a way to win against New York on Saturday, they’ll only be two points behind them for the conference lead.
It won't be an easy task.
Unlike the Flyers, the Rangers are consistent all throughout.
Their offense has scored 145 goals so far this season, and their defense has been solid.
However, their MVP is, without a doubt, Henrik Lundqvist.
The #1 goaltender of the Rangers has been like a brick wall this season, allowing only 106 goals (an NHL-best record), and he’s been impossible for the Flyers to solve lately.
They’ve only managed to score six goals against him in the four games against the Rangers this season, compared to the 14 that New York has scored on Philadelphia goaltending.
One player who has found some success against Lundqvist is Brayden Schenn, who has scored a goal in each of the last two games against the Rangers.
Lundqvist isn’t the only problem that the Flyers need overcome in order to get a win on Saturday.
They need to maintain strength on the blue line and in net.
If Ilya Bryzgalov is still ill with the flu on Saturday, the Flyers will have backup goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky in to face New York.
While Bobrovsky has done well so far this season in general, he had a brutal game in his second-to-last outing, a 6-4 loss to the New Jersey Devils on February 4.
That performance was uncharacteristic of Bobrovsky, who had a 12-4-1 record heading into that matchup.
He had a decent game this past Thursday against the Toronto Maple Leafs, stopping 24 of 27 shots in the win.
The Flyers need him to return to form if he is indeed in net against the Rangers on Saturday.
As for the rest of the team, they need to play a complete game like Thursday's against the Maple Leafs.
Slow starts and lethargic play have been an issue as of late, and that won’t do them any good against the powerful Rangers.
To have a chance at getting the win, they need to get an early jump as soon as they hit the ice and never take their feet off of the gas.