The Flyers have had their ups and downs, a few surprises, plenty of intrigue and memorable games and moments through the first 45 games of the season. So before turning the page to the second half and a potential playoff push, let’s take a glance back at the first half of the year.
It might seem a head-scratcher to pick the backup goalie, who has played in only 17 games this season, but the Flyers would likely be battling the Blue Jackets and Maple Leafs for the worst record in the NHL without him. He has played more like a No. 1 goalie than a backup with a 10-5-2 record, a .936 save percentage, which is second in the league, and sports a 2.05 goals against that ranks him sixth.
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Least Valuable Player:RJ Umberger
Due to a lingering injury that affected him all of last year, the veteran forward gets a pass for his subpar season in 2014-15. Healthy for the better part of 2015, there is no excuse for just six assists and no goals in 30 games. Factor in his $4.6 million cap hit, and it stings even more.
Biggest surprise :Shayne Gostisbehere
With apologies to Sean Couturier, who has shown flashes of developing into a standout two-way forward, the rookie defenseman known as “Ghost” has single-handily resurrected the team’s season. The Florida-native, who has eight goals, including three in overtime, 11 assists and is a plus-five in 27 games, has been the puck-carrying defenseman the organization has craved for since Eric Desjardin anchored the blue line.
Best win:4-3 over the Blues on Dec. 21.
The Flyers rallied from a 3-0 deficit in the second period to stun the Blues, 4-3. Chris Vandevelde got the comeback started with a shorthanded goal midway through the second and Wayne Simmonds netted the next two to tie the game at 3-3. Evgeny Medvedev provided the game-winner with less than four minutes to play in regulation to seal the thrilling victory in the final game before the Christmas break.
Most disappointing loss:4-3 against the Penguins on Jan. 21
In a crucial contest against their biggest rival, the Flyers squandered a 2-0 lead in the opening 20 minutes as the Penguins scored four unanswered goals. Rather than leapfrog the Penguins in the standings, the team fell back five points of the final wild card spot.
Best pre-game ceremony:Rod Brind’Amour Hall of Fame Night
The Flyers have hosted a bevy of ceremonies this season honoring former players. They have recognized Kimmo Timonen, Simon Gagne and Danny Briere, who all announced their retirement after last season, as well as current defenseman Nick Schultz, who played in his 1,000thgame. However, Brind’Amour takes the cake with a beautiful ceremony that included a heart-felt speech before his banner was raised to the rafters.