Sunday, February 17, 2008

Flyers Lose. Again.

There are losing streaks, and then there is what is happening to the Flyers. They lost their seventh game in a row tonight, 5-3 to the Canadiens. The loss drops the Flyers into fourth place in the Atlantic Division behind the Rangers, and into the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference. The Flyers are currently only one point ahead of the two teams tied for the 8th seed, meaning with another loss they could drop out of the playoffs altogether. Only two weeks ago, the Flyers were in the hunt for the top overall seed, and now they are finding themselves closer to the bottom than the top.

Injuries have played a role in this losing streak, with Simon Gagne, Joffrey Lupul, Steve Downie and Derian Hatcher, all key contributors, out of tonights game. The Flyers only suited up 11 forwards against Montreal, and when Denis Tolpeko was knocked out of the game after a big hit in the first period, the Flyers essentially only had three forward lines.

Injuries don't tell the whole story though. The Flyers haven't been playing with much energy, losing many of the battles in the corner. The defense, even when everyone is healthy, is average at best. The goaltending has been good, but neither Antero Niitymaki nor Martin Biron have stood on their heads and single-handedly won a game. Neither goalie has stepped up to grab the number one spot, either, so they will continue to switch from game to game. All of this adds up to a team that is merely average.

GM Paul Holmgren has his work cut out for him. Getting Peter Forsberg won't be enough for this team. They need to find a defenseman or two. If Gagne is out for much longer, they will need another skilled forward. Perhaps the Flyers would be better off riding out the season with what they have. Let the young guys play and get experience and see how far they can get. Making a trade that would jeopardize the future just to win a few extra games this season isn't smart. There is little chance an extended Stanley Cup run is in this teams future unless they immediately turn this thing around.

Click here for highlights of tonights game.

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