Flyers streaking behind offense, goaltending
Of the Flyers' next 18 games, 13 will be on the road. (USA Today Images)
SUNRISE, Fla. -- The next month figures to be the toughest part of the Flyers' schedule, especially their first-half schedule, with 13 of 18 games on the road.
And it begins Monday against the Florida Panthers (see game notes). For certain, it’s a mental grind because the Flyers come home after two games in the Sunshine State, meet Winnipeg on Black Friday morning, then head to Nashville the next day before embarking on a back-and-forth journey across the middle of the continent with stops in Minnesota, Detroit, Dallas, Ottawa and Chicago.
“It’s a mental grind and it will be a tough trip for sure,” coach Craig Berube said. “We’re a real good road team. You gotta worry about tonight and worry about the next game. Obviously, it’s going to be a grind. Everybody goes through it.”
The Flyers go into Monday’s game with a 4-3-2 road record.
“When the schedule comes out, everyone looks at and understands where the challenges are,” Braydon Coburn said. “This is a challenge. Anytime you go on the road for an extended period of time, it’s a challenge to the hockey club. You need to become road warriors.”
The funny thing is, the Flyers have recently developed good vibes at home, where they've won four straight to get themselves to a 6-7 record.
“Yeah we did that and it feels like we’re going to be on the road now for the next three weeks," Brayden Schenn said. “We gotta get used to it again and playing comfortable being away from our building.”
Points streak by the numbers
The Flyers are aiming to extend their points streak to eight games. They are 6-0-1 and have outscored their opponents, 27-10, over that span in regulation and overtime.
They have finally discovered their offense.
“They’re shooting the puck,” Berube said. “We’re averaging 30-some shots a game. We got a good rush attack going now and we’re starting to figure out the O-zone part of it. Everyone is involved in it. When you put pucks and people to the net, good things happen. That is what we’re doing.”
During this points streak, the Flyers have averaged 3.86 goals per game, which is way up over the paltry 1.47 goals they were averaging during the first 15 games of the season.
They have also scored at least one power play goal in six straight games.
“That’s confidence and again, they are shooting the puck and getting it to the net,” Berube said. “Power plays are about execution and work.
“With the penalty kill, they are going to work hard because they are a man short. The power play has to outwork them. It’s about getting pucks and people to the net.”
Mason gets the nod
Steve Mason will get the start in goal against the Panthers on Monday. The Flyers have won four of the last five games Mason has started.
Forbes Magazine released its annual NHL valuations this week and ranked the Flyers No. 7 overall with a franchise value of $500 million, a whopping 49 percent increase over last year.
The Flyers also had the smallest operating income among the top eight -- $6 million -- but that’s because the Flyers weren’t in the playoffs last season.
No surprise that the Toronto Maple Leafs continue to set the NHL benchmark for team value at $1.15 billion. The Rangers are next at $850 million.