Better With Popcorn

Knock, knock on wood: Flyers have appeared to find their daytime hockey legs in the playoffs

If you thought this storyline wasn’t going to reemerge somewhere, at some point, at some time before the 2011-12 season was finished, then you my friend haven’t been introduced to enough clichéd sports writing.

But hey, before you get all up in arms about how silly this angle is, at least take solace in the fact that it is a positive one rather than it’s hair-pulling, vomit-inducing brother that had everyone slamming their heads into a wall two months ago trying to figure it out.

That of course would be the in explainable problems the Philadelphia Flyers had with winning daytime hockey games this season.

"I don't know if it's the afternoon,” Wayne Simmonds said back on February 11 following another day game loss against the New York Rangers. “I guess you can't say it is just the one o' clock games."

He was right, it wasn’t just the one o’clock games; it was practically every game that came before the standard seven o’clock start time.

After infamously assembling a 6-10-3 record in games that started before 7 pm this season, the thought of the team playing daytime hockey was far scarier than any injury they have had to deal with this season.

To make matters worse, the team was outscored 74-56 in those games, which is saying something considering how offensively potent this year’s team has been. Of the seven times that the team allowed six goals or more this season, all but one happened in day time games.

"I couldn't tell you," Claude Giroux said back in February when asked to explain the team’s struggles.

G-sus wasn’t the only one who couldn’t explain the in explainable. Ultimately, everyone was left to their own devices when trying to justify the team’s inability to win day games.

Luckily, that now appears to be a problem of the past (fingers crossed).

Since the start of April, the Flyers are 4-1 when playing daytime hockey. Most importantly, they are 3-0 in games that start prior to 7 pm in the postseason. In those games (two of which came in Round 1 against the Pittsburgh Penguins in addition to Sunday’s Game 1 against the New Jersey Devils) the Flyers have outscored their opponents 16-8.

Not a bad turnaround considering how badly they were outscored in day games in the regular season.

Explaining the recent success is basically the same thing as trying to explain their previous failures. If one was to speculate, it’s probably a safe bet to say that motivation is a big factor. While they obviously wanted to win the other early games, the postseason ones gave the team something tangible to shoot for. 

Ultimately, why it happens doesn’t really matter; the only thing that anyone cares about is that the team started to find their daytime legs at the most opportune time possible.

No matter who you ask, three daytime wins in the postseason will trump 13 daytime losses in the regular season any day.

 

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