The Philadelphia Flyers are somehow still in the playoff hunt after an inconsistent month of February that isn’t over yet. The Flyers sit only five points back of the second wild card spot, which is currently occupied by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Philadelphia has another important week of games coming up, which features the Carolina Hurricanes, Minnesota Wild and Arizona Coyotes. These three teams are also all in the playoff race and looking to get some points and inch closer to the playoffs. The Hurricanes are directly above the Flyers in the chase for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Wild made a coaching change and are suddenly hot and on a four game winning streak, while the Coyotes have struggles to win games and are losing ground in the Western Conference playoff race. The Flyers just need to worry about playing their game and trying to get points to jump the teams in front of them in the wild card race.
The Flyers could get an important piece back in Sean Couturier, who has been out with a lower body injury, but will be without Claude Giroux, their leading scorer. The Flyers have won all three meeting against the Hurricanes this season, and the wins have all come during the overtime session. The team will need to be patient considering the Canes don’t give up a lot of shots per game so when the opportunity arises for Philadelphia to shoot the puck that’s what they need to do. The Hurricanes have a better penalty kill at home than the Flyers have a power play on the road, and with Giroux out, the Philadelphia power play could struggle even more. The Hurricanes need to keep an eye on Jake Voracek, who has two goals, five assists and seven points against them this season. Shayne Gostisbehere is another Flyers’ player that the Hurricanes will want to keep an eye on since he has two goals, two assists and four points against them this year.
The Wild will visit the Flyers on February 25, and will look to keep their playoff chances alive. The Wild made a coaching change on February 13 when John Torchetti took over for Mike Yeo, and haven’t looked back, winning all four games since Torchetti has taken over. The Flyers will need to play a smart hockey game against the Wild and not turn the puck over. The Orange and Black will also need to try and convert on their power play chances since the Wild is only killing off about 76% of the penalties taken while on the road. The Wild can put the puck in the back of the net so the Flyers will have to play a decent overall defensive game with the help of the forwards. If the game should go to overtime, the Wild have only won one game in the extra session, while the Flyers have won nine.
The Flyers will close out the week with the young Arizona Coyotes team in town for a Saturday matinee game. The Coyotes are still in the hunt for the second wild card spot in the Western Conference, but are fading. The Flyers will need to keep an eye on the young kids for the Coyotes especially Max Domi and Anthony Duclair, because they can skate and put up points. Philadelphia will also need to pay attention to Shane Doan, who leads Arizona with 22 goals on the season. The Orange and Black will need to get some rubber towards the opposing goalie since the Coyotes will give up some goals. The Flyers will need to convert on their power play chances, which they’ll have since Arizona is one of the most penalized teams in the NHL.
If the Flyers want to stay in the playoff hunt then they’ll need to stay focused on the opponent that they are playing, and not on the standings.