It was like, one day ago that the Flyers' season hung in the balance. It looked like they were one more nail in the coffin away from being dead.
With an uncertain trade deadline looming, the announcement that Jakub Voracek would be out for at least two weeks and a three-game deficit in the playoff race, the Flyers' hopes for 2015-16 were slim.
And while the chances are still in the unlikely column, (clubsportstats.com gives Philly just over a 33 percent chance of making the playoffs) Brayden Schenn is stepping up at the perfect time and making sure the Flyers don't go down without a fight.
“He could’ve had 7 goals tonight probably," Wayne Simmonds said of Schenn's Monday night hat trick against Calgary. "It was his first career hat trick. It was nice. He played a hell of a game.”
With Voracek out and other key Flyers shuffling in and out with injuries too, Philadelphia can't realistically rely on Schenn, who set a new career-high with 21 goals, to carry them on offense. But that's okay, coach Dave Hakstol says, as long as he is playing well.
"The indicators for him early in games, and I’m sure he knows that his feet are moving," the coach said. "he’s got some physicality to his game, and when he’s into the game that way into the first couple of shifts, usually it carries over into a good night offensively."
Schenn has, for some reason, played better since his brother Luke was traded away a few months ago. He is in a contract year, and according to Ron Hextall, a deal will likely wait until the offseason. Important to the Flyers resurgence, Schenn is comfortable no matter who his line mates are -- a rarity on the NHL level.
"I have just played myself," Schenn said. "I know I can play with those guys, just trying to be as confident as possible. I know I can make plays and produce with those guys. Right now I am just trying to do that. Tonight I was trying to get the puck to G’s [Giroux] hands as much as possible, he was feeling it tonight. So you know with the three of us, me him and Simmer [Simmonds], I feel like we got some pretty good chemistry. Me and Simmer just try and get the puck in his hands and go to the net."
The Flyers continue their six-game homestand Thursday when the Oilers come to town, and the confident Flyers will be seeking to make it four wins in a row as they chase the Penguins for the final Wild Card spot.
"I think we have had trouble with the teams that are below us," Schenn said looking ahead to Thursday. "So I know for us it is important. We have three more home games; we need to get six more points. We got Edmonton coming in on Thursday and it is not going to be an easy test for us. They play a high skilled game; they got a lot of fire play up front. So we got to be ready for them here in the next couple days."