Flyers Focus: Feeling Right at Home on the Road


The most comprehensive weekly look at the Philadelphia Flyers on the internet.

Lace Up

When the Flyers skated off of the ice surface at Scottrade Center, they did so victorious in their fourth consecutive road contest. All of a sudden, the orange and black are 5-1-1 in their last seven contests and making a move up the Eastern Conference Standings.

Following play on Thursday night, Dave Hakstol’s club has inched its way into contention in a parity-filled playoff picture. The team is 7-6-2 in road contests on the year and is finally finding some continuity with the third forward line and the defensive unit.

The influx of talent that Jake Voracek has brought to the third line featuring he, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Chris VandeVelde has been easily noticeable. That unit has thrived on puck possession ever since Voracek’s demotion from the top line. This unit has prided itself on solid forechecking and offensive zone possession which is a huge burden off of the goaltenders and defensemen.

Speaking of the defense unit, this is the best the Flyers blue line has looked in quite some time.  Hakstol’s system allows forwards to sink low during scrums to help protect the net, but the defenders themselves are also performing above the expected level. In the five wins during the 5-1-1 stretch, the Flyers have yielded just 1.8 goals per game and that has been and will continue to be the formula to success for a team that’s had some trouble scoring thus far.

A solid, two-goal effort from the Claude Giroux/Michael Raffl/Brayden Schenn line helped propel the Flyers to a 4-2 win against the second place-Blues in the Western Conference’s Central Division and resulted in the four-game road win streak, the longest such streak since winning five straight back in 2011.



The Flyers fell behind in the second period in St. Louis, but answered quickly. Raffl tipped home a Schenn feed just 1:40 after Robby Fabbri kicked off the scoring for the Blues.

The club held just a .188 win percentage when falling behind 1-0 on the season, but bucked that trend with a three-goal second period that included this beauty from the captain.


That’s the points-per-game number for rookie defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere. Four goals, four assists in 12 NHL games this season. His PPG number is tops amongst rookie blueliners and it appears as if Ghost is up with the big club for good.

There’s been some uncertainty about what an eventual Mark Streit return will mean to Gostisbehere’s immediate future, but it’s almost safe to say that he’s played his way into a permanent role. Streit himself told CSN Philly that Ghost makes the Flyers a better team and I believe he is here to stay.

Don’t believe me? Here’s some reassurance.


Radko Gudas has been somewhat of a revelation so far this season for the Flyers. He’s currently in second place among defensemen in the NHL with 118 hits and has also put forth nearly 21 minutes per night so far this season. He plays with an edge and has intensity that the blue line has lacked in past seasons. He’s not a traditional top-four defenseman but has found his niche on this unit as the team deals with injuries to Streit and Luke Schenn.

Gudas is currently slated to be a free agent following this season but that could change if a reasonable cap number can be agreed upon by both sides.

Section 140

The Wayne Simmonds/Sean Couturier/Matt Read line has been hot recently.  Read popped home the game-winner against the Devils last week and then had this crazy effort goal to give the Flyers a 2-1 lead against the Blues. If not for old friend Bob, Read would have had a three-goal week:]

First and foremost, Flyers prized defensive prospect Travis Sanheim set up the goal that led to this incredibly awesome Teddy Bear Toss put on by the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL.  Nearly 29,000 teddy bears were thrown onto the ice following the second period tally, which will be donated to Calgary area children’s charities.

And, oh, by the way, speaking of players in junior named Travis…#TravisKonecny

Listen: Section 215 Podcast

Weekly Awards

Back On Track Award – Claude Giroux

You could make a realistic argument that the captain was never off track, but Giroux is finally back to producing at the clip we’re accustomed to seeing from #28.  Giroux has put up 14 points in the team’s last nine games and his goal against the Blues meant that he’s now scored on every team in the NHL besides the Flyers.

Playing Like I Want An Extension Award – Brayden Schenn

Something tells me that Schenn was looking around this past summer when he saw that Couturier, Voracek and Simmonds all got hefty extensions. I’m not the biggest fan of Schenn’s game and think he’s squandered some great opportunities to produce alongside Voracek and Giroux on the first line. But Schenn is answering the call in his most recent opportunity. Schenn was fantastic against the Blues — assisting on Raffl’s equalizer and being very active in all zones. Schenn is playing as if he wants to stick around (or at least get a hefty pay day in free agency if not retained).

Sparkplug Award – Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

Bellemare took a potentially costly offensive zone penalty against St. Louis on Thursday that led to a Blues power play goal, but his impact over the last several weeks can’t be ignored. He’s helped propel the third line to respectability with Voracek and VandeVelde and also notched a shorthanded goal against the Islanders.

What’s On The Way

The Flyers will get one more opportunity to extend their road winning streak before returning home for a short break.

Next: Reggie Leace and His Spirit of Perseverance

A Friday night tilt with the first-place Dallas Stars looms and it will be a great challenge for Hakstol’s club.  Dallas has been superb this season, leading the Central Division and entire NHL with 44 points.  Keep an eye on Jamie Benn, the league leader in goals with 19, and D-man John Klingberg, who is second among NHL defensemen with 30 points (five G, 25 A) this season.

Following the trip to Texas, they’ll come home to host the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday and the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.