Philadelphia Flyers: Job well done against Columbus

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Facing a home-and-home set with division rival Columbus this week, the Philadelphia Flyers simply got the job done in coming away with two wins.

As I stated previously, there could be no excuses. The Philadelphia Flyers, scratching and clawing their way through the crowded Eastern Conference playoff race, needed four points in their two games against the Columbus Blue Jackets this week.

Mission accomplished.

And even though we won’t be hanging any banners for a pair of wins, netting two key victories over the Jackets is a huge deal for the Flyers. It’s not like they’ve sealed a playoff spot, as there are still 21 games to go, but they find themselves three points clear of the cutoff at the moment and they’ve now gone two points up on the Blue Jackets after trailing them by a point earlier this week.

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That may not sound like a big deal; but, trust me, it is.

If one had to nitpick, it would have been nice to get the win on Thursday in regulation and deny Columbus from securing a “loser point” in overtime. But the outcome has to be viewed as a big success after the Flyers trailed by scores of 2-0 and 3-1.

Thursday’s game really did look like one where the Flyers were destined to fall flat, giving back the gains that they had made by virtue of Tuesday’s 5-1 win in Philadelphia. A goal against them in the first minute and then a highlight-reel breakaway goal for Columbus shortly thereafter may have had fans reaching for the remote in years past. But these Flyers showed once again that this season, and this team, is different.

Brian Elliott would settle down to make key saves, Nicolas Aube-Kubel continued to be a revelation as he scored a big goal in the second period, and then the Flyers’ top players took over to carry the team to the win.

At this point, it’s hard to remember just how much Kevin Hayes struggled to fit in during his first 25 or so games with the Flyers. But he’s now sitting at 19 goals on the year after the overtime winner, and he’s playing every bit like the player the Flyers wanted when they inked him to a long-term deal last summer.

Full marks to the Flyers for taking advantage of a very banged-up Columbus team, who is now in free fall mode. They’ve lost seven straight (although they’ve gotten four points out of that) and the Flyers might just be done worrying about them very soon if they can keep their foot on the gas in the coming games.

The Flyers are finished their head-to-head series with the Jackets for the year. And what a series it was, as the Flyers took all four meetings. That’s what you have to do against teams who are your direct competition for postseason spots. And even though Columbus has exceeded expectations this year, the Flyers are a straight-up better team. They needed to show it this week, and they did.

The Flyers certainly never make it easy on themselves, something on full display on Thursday. They fell behind by multiple goals, they had some sloppy play, and then they put themselves in penalty trouble even after evening the score. But they keep managing to pull through adverse situations like these time and time again.

The law of averages says that they’ll hit an obstacle they can’t overcome eventually, but things are wide open right now. Yes, there are some fantastic teams out there, but the margins between winning and losing in this league can be pretty thin.

The Flyers aren’t getting insane goaltending or sporting a high-flying offense at the moment, yet they’re still winning hockey games. And even when they don’t get the W, they put forth an effort that shows you that they’re for real.

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For a Flyers fan that has gotten all too accustomed to underachieving, I am fully on board with this club. What’s this strange feeling that I’m having? Excitement?