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Preview: Flyers close out 2020-21 season against the Devils

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Don’t cry because it’s over, cry because it happened.

New Jersey Devils v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

Well, this has been a Shakespearean Tragedy of a season hasn’t it ladies and gentlemen?

Not to hyperbolize things, but it’s especially poignant and tormenting given how the Flyers opened the season, having once sat in first place in the East Division, only to slowly but surely slip down the standings further and further, sinking into the despair that would eventually become an elimination from playoff contention. From poor goaltending, to baffling decision making, to slumps from key players, to a complete lack of defensive aptitude, and finally, even plain simple poor luck, it feels like nothing went right for the Flyers during the 2020-21 NHL season.

Now, this all sounds like a season review article, but however, despite the season feeling over, the season is not quite over yet. There’s still one more game to be played, and fittingly to match the apathy felt for this mediocre season, this game will take place against the New Jersey Devils.

The Devils, similarly to the Flyers, have had a near joyless season, though without the prior expectation of a playoff berth to quash their enthusiastic dreams. At 19-29-7, the Devils sit at 45 points, and they lost their last game 5-1 to the New York Islanders. On the season series, the Flyers have taken three of the seven matchups, and it will be determined from this game whether or not the Flyers either tie, or lose the season series to New Jersey, truly a sobering thought.

The Flyers will have to watch out for the likes of Pavel Zacha of all players, as he has scored three goals in his last five games. Jack Hughes also has accumulated four points in the last five games. Brian Elliott is expected to start in net, which may very well be his last game in a Flyers uniform.

Two Big Questions

1. Who will be the Flyers’ top point producer at the end of the night?

Right now, it’s a toss up between Jake Voracek on 43 points and James van Riemsdyk on 42 points. Claude Giroux also has a chance at 41 points. This isn’t really a title that matters, but for personal pride’s sake, I’ll be all three of these guys want to top the standings by the season’s end.

2. Will we see any big performances from recent call-ups?

Specifically, Wade Allison and Cam York. Allison scored twice against the Capitals, and looks to be finding his feet in the NHL as he gains more experience. Meanwhile, Cam York has had less time to adjust to NHL hockey, but he looks right in place. He simply glides up the ice when he heads the puck himself out of the Flyers’ zone. He’s truly a majestical presence out there and more of the same would give Flyers fans a lot to look forward to in 2021-22.

In Conclusion

This season has indeed been disappointing, but there’s always light at the end of the tunnel.

One of my favorite authors, Haruki Murakami, perhaps said it best in his novel “Kafka on the Shore”:

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”

Let’s go, the Flyers.