Looking to November: Will We See the Early or Late October Flyers Team?
When the Philadelphia Flyers started their season 0-3-3, everyone was ready to press the panic button.
Then all of a sudden they decided to play defense, and they went on a four game winning streak to end the month of October.
Now with their loss to the Oilers to start this month, will we see that team from the first six games again? Or was this just a game they should have won? And will turn it around in the rest of the month?
Here is a preview of the Flyers next five games in the month of November, and how I think they will fare in each game.
Thursday November 6th: at the Ottawa Senators
The Senators right now are 4-5-2, and are in 12th in the East, one spot behind the Flyers, who are in 11th.
Dany Heatly is off to a great start this season with 13 points already, scoring seven times.
The Senators also have four players who already have 10 points or more.
And now their defense is starting to play well; they have allowed no more than two goals in the last three games.
The problem with the Senators right now is the fact that they are having trouble scoring goals. They are 18th in the league right now with 30 goals. If they want to beat this Flyers team, they are going to have to put up at least four goals, which is something they have had trouble doing.
The Flyers on the other hand are first in the league in goals with 43.
Prediction: Flyers win 6-3
Saturday November 8th: vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning
Right now the Lighting are 4-3-3, 10th in the Eastern Conference.
This team has had its struggles on offense so far, only scoring 22 goals all season, and not having a single player who has broken the 10 point barrier so far.
The only lucky thing for the Lightning is that they have been able to stop the other teams from scoring thus far, only allowing 24 goals on the season.
The Lightning right now are also struggling on the power play, scoring only five goals this season. This could come as a big problem vs. the Flyers, since they have scored that many goals shorthanded already.
Prediction: Flyers win 3-2 in OT
Tuesday November 11th: at New York Islanders
The Islanders now are in last place in the Eastern Conference with a 3-7-1 record. However, they did just barely lose to the Flyers last Thursday, losing 3-2 in OT.
The Islanders have somewhat put points on the board, scoring 29 goals on the season.
Their defense though has been struggling greatly, having allowed 40 goals already in only 11 games.
If the Flyers want to win this game, they are going to have to put the Islanders down quick and not give them any chance of staying in the game.
Prediction: Flyers win 6-2
Thursday November 13th: at the Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins as of now are 6-4-2—good enough to keep them in seventh in the East. The Penguins defeated the Flyers in their first match up of the season on October 14th, in a 3-2 OT victory for the Penguins.
With the high-powered offense the Penguins appear to have, they are only 18th in the league so far in goals with 31.
They are however, doing well on the power play right now. They have 11 power play goals on the season—good enough to put them in seventh in the league. The Flyers though, are second in the league in that same category with 14 goals.
The Penguin defense, even without their best two defenders, Whitney and Gonchar, are seventh in the league, allowing only 28 goals. The upside for the Penguins with all of this is that the Flyers are 26th in this category allowing 40 goals.
Prediction: Flyers lose 5-3
Saturday November 15th: at the Montreal Canadiens
The Flyers finish off their three game November road trip, traveling to Canada to take on the 8-1-1 Canadiens. That record is good enough to put them in fourth in the Eastern Conference.
This could be a game where the Canadiens are looking for some revenge. The Flyers were the team who knocked them out of the '07 playoffs, even though they were the No. 1 overall seeded team.
The Canadiens are playing good offense again this season, having four players with 10 points or more, and have scored 35 goals this season.
Their defense has also been very good, only allowing 23 goals thus far—good enough for third in the league right now.
Something that could be positive for the Canadiens is that the Flyers have allowed 12 power play goals this season, and the Canadiens power play, which has been just average so far, is looking to get it going soon.
Prediction: Flyers lose 4-3
So, with these games coming up, the Flyers will be looking to regain some ground in the Eastern Conference.
The way they are going to have to do that in every game is to have the continued solid play from the defense and goaltenders, and to keep scoring goals.
With Danny Briere out for the next couple of weeks, Glen Metropolit has to step into the first line already and play with Gagne and Knuble. If he can keep up the scoring in that line the Flyers should be fine, since Richards, Lupul, and Carter have all been playing excellent hockey.
Being No. 1 in the league in goals, but only having a .500 record so far, just goes to show you no matter how many goals you put in the net, if you don't have the defense to stop the opponent you still won't go anywhere.
Defense wins championships.
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