In today's matinee, the Flyers will have to prove yet again that they're able to rebound from big losses and get back on track.
The Flyers have played victim to some seriously gross blowouts this season. You're aware of this, but still, let's rehash some fun memories. Perhaps the most memorable was the 7-0 blanking--complete with hashtag goalie truculence--in Washington, but there have been a couple more like it: a 5-1 loss to the Dallas Stars on December 7th, a 7-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on December 11th, a 6-1 loss to the Boston Bruins on January 25th, and most recently, a 7-3 trash-filled loss thanks to the San Jose Sharks on Thursday.
Everyone points to the Washington loss as the season's turning point: in the ten games following, the Flyers went 7-2-1. This, coupled with some absolutely crazy third period steals, has led to a really neatly packaged underdog/comeback narrative for the team.
I don't know why it takes a swift kick in the rear for the Flyers to actually start playing hockey again, but it always seems work for a solid stretch of time. Next ten games after the Chicago loss? 7-2-1. Next six after the Bruins loss? 5-1-0. It never makes a whole lot of sense and it defies most logic, but the Flyers rebound well after these disastrous losses.
The question for today's matinee is whether or not the Flyers are able to keep that narrative running. Of course, it won't be easy. Then again, is it ever?
The Rangers are coming off a 2-1 win against the Blackhawks. They grabbed the lead early and man, did they hang on. It was a big two points for the Rangers considering the state of the Metropolitan, how good the Blackhawks are, and how down to the wire this season is bound to go. Quality competition shows what a team is made of. The Rangers rose to that occasion on Thursday night whereas the Flyers, uh, didn't.
Story of the night for the Rangers was Cam Talbot, who made 32 saves in the win. Pretty great performance from the backup. Handsome Swedish Guy is expected to make his return to NHL ice today.
Mason will get the start. Ray Emery, in a bizarre series of events, stepped in for Steve Mason on Thursday night and after a while needed to leave the ice. Emery was reported to have injured his groin at some point during practice and apparently re-injured it during the game. Without the services of Emery, the Flyers called up Adirondack Phantoms goaltender Cal Heeter to backup Mason. Unless disaster strikes, you won't see him. He does bear a striking resemblance to Macklemore, though, so at least he has that going for him.
The Flyers have every opportunity to respond correctly to their last loss. Today's game is divisional, it's against a team that is just barely ahead in the standings, and it's against the Rangers, for Christ's sake. All of the pieces are there. All the planets are aligned. The Flyers need another rebound victory, and looking at the schedule coming up, they need it bad.
With a win, the race stays tight. With a loss, the Flyers could drop out of playoff position. What else is new?
Hopefully it's actually #ClutchTime today. Let's go Flyers.