Sunday, November 30, 2008

Flyers remain consistently inconsistent

With the Phillies World Series win and all the drama surrounding the Eagles, I haven't had much time to write about the Flyers. After a slow start to the season, the Flyers have rebounded and find themselves in third place in the division. Considering how awful they looked at the beginning of the year and the number of injuries they have overcome, third place sounds pretty good.

With winning streaks of 4 and 6 games and losing streaks of 6 and 3 games, the Flyers have been riding a roller coaster all season long. Two major issues seem to rise up for this team when they lose: defense and goaltending. After injuries to Randy Jones and Ryan Parent at the start of the season, their inexperience on the blueline was exposed on a nightly basis. Acquisitions of Andrew Alberts and Matt Carle have shored things up significantly but the Flyers are still prone to giving up bad turnovers.

Bad turnovers aren't necessarily costly when you have a goalie standing on his head, unfortunately the Flyers rarely get that kind of performance from Martin Biron. Even in last nights game against Toronto, Biron made a pair of costly errors that led directly to goals against. His save percentage currently sits at .900 which ranks 31st in the league. That number is unacceptable considering how often the Flyers get outshot. With the amount of shots Biron faces on a nightly basis, he needs to be stopping more.

With the defense and goaltending sub-par, the offense is leading the way for the Flyers. The resurgence of Simon Gagne, who is third in the league in points, and the continued emergence of Jeff Carter, who is second in the league in goals, have given the Flyers a dangerous attack that ranks near the top of the league. The play of those two have allowed the offense to keep flowing even with top playmaker Danny Briere out for an extended period of time.

If the season were to end today, the Flyers would be the 6th seed in the Eastern Conference. Considering how maddening their play has been at times, it's hard to complain with that seeding. The Flyers aren't likely to make a bunch of moves this season to try to find consistency, so it's up to the guys on the roster to find their groove and stay there. Hopefully it's the same groove they found in last years playoffs.

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