With the Flyers playoff chances officially at zero, the final four games of this tumultuous, frustrating, and also fun-at-times season will be a bit awkward. There really isn’t anything to play for in these final games except for pride, and from the front office’s perspective, draft position. This is the third time in the past five seasons the Flyers have been in this position, and eyes are focused on the upcoming off-season, which will be one of the most important in team history.
But before we get to said off-season, beating up on our division rival New York Rangers wouldn’t be so bad. The Flyers take on the Rangers today for the final time this season, and will look to complete the season sweep vs. their foes from New York. Now if you were told heading into this season that the Flyers would take the season series from Pittsburgh and sweep the Rangers, you would probably expect a playoff berth. Well, that’s what happens when you expect the obvious with this hockey team.
These final four games should truly be a chance for players such as Samuel Morin, Phil Myers, Justin Bailey, and of course Carter Hart to make some final impressions on the team heading into next season. For guys like Hart and Myers, they’ve already almost ensured themselves a spot on next season’s opening night roster, but for Morin and Bailey, they’re fighting for that chance. Now that Scott Gordon doesn’t have to coach like he’s trying for a playoff berth, I would like to see him take some more chances with the younger players. Morin will not play today, but should in the final three games of the regular season.
1. Let’s get Carter his first shutout
Honestly, this is the main thing I want to see out of the final four games and there’s no better time for it than now. The final national TV broadcast of the season and it’s against your division rival; get Carter his shutout, fam. He’s come close on numerous occasions this season and it would be a great milestone to reach as he closes out a remarkable rookie campaign. Hart has been one of the lone bright spots on this hockey team this season and without him I could not imagine how dreadful a year this could have been. So why not reward him with his first shutout at the NHL level on a national scale?
Besides, Calvin Pickard - yes that Calvin Pickard - has a shutout for this dumb team this season. Carter deserves it a hell of a lot more than Cal does (sorry Cal).
2. Patrick, Konecny, Lindblom
Something else that I would love to see over these final four games is a lot of points from this trio of Nolan Patrick, Travis Konecny, and Oskar Lindblom. Konecny is closing in on his first 50 point season with 47 heading into today, Lindblom has 30 on the dot already making for a strong rookie season, and then there’s Nolan Patrick. It has yet again been a tale of two seasons for the former second overall pick, but Patrick sits right now at the exact same point, goals, and assists numbers he posted last season. 13 goals and 17 assists for 30 points on the season. He’s been on a cold streak of late having posted zero points in his past seven games. If Patrick especially could finish strong, that would make these final four games a lot more interesting.
3. Just give us some exciting hockey
With the playoffs out the window, all that I and I think many others want to see in these final games is exciting hockey. If we’re given that along with good performances from the kiddos, then the end to this season becomes a lot more enjoyable. The Flyers have nothing to play for which in theory should loosen the group up, and hopefully lead to a more aggressive brand of hockey. There are still two home games to go and it would be nice to at the very least take today’s game, and the season finale vs. Carolina.
Flyers Projected Lineup
JVR — Patrick — Giroux
Lindblom — Couturier — Voracek
Hartman — Laughton — Konecny
Raffl — Knight — Bailey
Provorov — Sanheim
Gostisbehere — Myers
Hagg — Gudas