The Flyers have been playing spectacular hockey of late, with the third best record in the NHL lifting the squad back into playoff contention.
But they suffered their first regulation setback in quite some time back on Tuesday against the Maple Leafs (a team beneath them in the standings). More troubling than the loss is their play on the ice, play that saw the Flyers failing to win a majority of 50-50 pucks and a bevy of costly giveaways both in and out of the defensive zone.
“We’re going to have games like that," Flyers captain Claude Giroux said, sounding like a true locker room leader after the 3-2 loss. "Eighty-two games are a lot of games, but we’re going to have games like this. We just can’t have too many. We’re going to have games that we aren’t going to play well or we aren’t going to be playing the right way. But the last seven games, we have been playing some good hockey."
One loss is nothing to worry about -- losses happen. But the Flyers are about to embark on a stretch of five straight games against teams in the Eastern Conference ahead of them in the division (with a break for the All-Star Game on January 31). Sitting in 12th place but just three points out of eighth in the East and a Wild Card spot, these upcoming points are majorly important.
"It is not time to hit the panic button," Giroux said. "I think obviously we need to look at some video and see what we did wrong. We can’t change the way we are playing. We have been successful playing this way. We just need to touch up some things.”
The Flyers have routinely -- during their recent hot streak of play -- found themselves behind heading into the third period. Philly seems to be a team that lives by the comeback. Is it a style of play they can maintain?
“I think even the last ten games we have, or the last seven or eight games, we’ve been playing pretty good hockey," Matt Read said. "I think we have the confidence in this locker room that if we’re down a goal we can come back and give ourselves a chance to win the game."
Against teams like Toronto, the Flyers need to feast not famine. And eliminating stretches of play that have Philadelphia looking like a complacent hockey team is important as the season continues.
“Yeah things are going, we’re getting points in the last five games," Shayne Gostisbehere said, "so I mean we got a little complacent there at the end and we can’t think like that if we want to be a playoff team.”