Philadelphia Flyers: Another win for the Metropolitan’s best team

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

With a 5-2 win over the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night, the Philadelphia Flyers have firmly moved into “contender” status.

The standings will show that the Washington Capitals still have a one-point lead over the Philadelphia Flyers atop the Metropolitan Division. But make no mistake, the Flyers are the best team in this division. And nobody wants to play them right now.

Playoff hopefuls like the Blue Jackets and the Rangers have found it out the hard way recently, and now it was the “division-leading” Caps’ turn to take it on the chin, as the Flyers beat them for the third time in less than two months, including two wins in Washington.

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The scariest part, for opponents at least, is that the Flyers had their typical slow start, trailing 1-0 and taking some ugly penalties. But they exploded to life with three goals in under ten minutes in the second period to take a lead that they would never relinquish. A pair of third period tallies cemented the win, and the Flyers managed to choke the life out of the Caps, who only put up 25 shots for the game and failed to post anything even close to a rally attempt.

And Alex Ovechkin?

He just stood at the faceoff dot waiting for a one-timer that never came, as he capped off his 0-for the season performance against the Flyers. No points in four games this year. That’s mighty fine work by the Orange and Black.

In a playoff-type game on Wednesday, the Flyers showed their depth, getting goals from Travis Konecny (his 24th of the season), Kevin Hayes (23rd), Scott Laughton (13th), Ivan Provorov (12th) and Tyler Pitlick (8th). Pitlick gives the Flyers twelve players with 8+ goals on the season, while Provorov’s goal was the 43rd of the season by Flyers defensemen, which leads NHL. Who needs Shayne Gostisbehere?

Just about the only negative on the night was an injury to James van Riemsdyk, who was hit with a shot and broke his hand. The Flyers will feel his loss, but assuming he can make it back in the next couple of weeks, this team has shown that it can weather that kind of absence.

It was also another impressive showing by Derek Grant, who had a pair of assists on the night for his second straight multi-point effort. Maybe Chuck Fletcher really knew was he was doing. Nate Thompson, the other newest Flyer, didn’t get on the score sheet. But he did fight resident Washington scumbag Tom Wilson, who later tussled with Robert Hagg after Wilson’s attempted run at Claude Giroux. Wilson, who’s a much braver player at home, didn’t necessarily get his comeuppance in the fights, but the message was sent this Flyers team isn’t going to take that kind of crap from anyone, lest of all human detritus like him.

The narrative on this team has changed radically this season. From the “same old Flyers” who would alternate good and bad weeks earlier this year to the pleasant surprise they started to develop into once the calendar flipped to 2020, I think we can now all comfortably say that this is a very good team, one that has created expectations because of its strong play.

As it stands right now, the Flyers have to be considered the odds-on favorite to come out of the Metro. That doesn’t mean they necessarily finish the regular season with the most points, but it’s hard to imagine them being topped in a best-of-7 right now by these Caps, the skidding Penguins (who just ended a 6-game losing streak on Tuesday), or anyone else in the division.

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Check in again as the playoffs get closer, because things could certainly change. But at this moment, they’re the best team in the division and stack up favorably against just about everyone else in the league. This is not a drill. The Flyers are very good, and the rest of the NHL is on notice.