Philadelphia Flyers Playoff Preview; First Round vs. Washington Capitals
With the 2016 NHL playoffs now underway, let’s take a look at this year’s Philadelphia Flyers Playoff Preview.
The Philadelphia Flyers finished the season 41-27-14 (96 points), which was good enough for 5th in the Metropolitan Division Standings. The team seems to be a couple steps ahead of schedule, considering they seemed to be a team in the rebuilding stage at the beginning of the season.
If the Flyers want to have any chance in this year’s playoffs, they will need to pick their numbers up on offense. As a team, they only scored a total of 211 goals, which is 11 fewer than the league average. Led by Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds, the Flyers also got some much needed offensive power from the youngsters, Shayne Gostisbehere and Brayden Schenn.
It’s safe to say the main reason the Flyers are in the position they are in is due to their defense. Noticeably better than the year before, Philly ended up allowing 18 fewer goals than last year. In addition, their goaltending has been superb, posting a .920 save percentage, better than the league average of .915. They got good play from both of their goalies, Steve Mason and Michal Neuvirth.
Key Players vs. Washington
With their defense playing good hockey, this series is going to be decided on how well the Flyers’ offense plays.
Giroux was a piece of the Flyers’ team that made it to the Stanley Cup in 2010. Back then, he was just a 22-year-old youngin’. Now a 28-year-old player in his prime days, Giroux is eager for another shot at a Stanley Cup, especially since they fell short to the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010.
In 78 games played this season, Giroux scored 22 goals and dished 45 assists for a total of 67 points. He was a big part of the Flyers’ offense that brought them to the playoffs. If they want to continue to play at a high level, they will need that spark that Giroux is used to bringing.
For the past few months, Simmonds has found a lot of inspiration in the team’s playoff push this spring. In 81 games played during the regular season, Simmonds scored 32 goals and 28 assists for a total of 60 points. His excellence in April showed as he scored 6 of those goals and 1 assist in 5 games played this month.
There’s no doubt Simmonds has been on a tear as of late. The Flyers will be looking for that fire he brings to the ice in their first round series against the scorching Washington Capitals.
(Philadelphia Flyers Playoff Preview)