Philadelphia Flyers Ride the Hot Hands, Get Right Back in the Race

C KSenior Analyst INovember 3, 2008

Over the past week and a half, the Philadelphia Flyers have come out of the basement of the league into a very decent position.

The team started off to an abysmal 0-3-3 start, leaving them the only winless team in the league. That was ended very shortly as the Flyers won four consecutive games to bring themselves to a record of 4-3-3 and put them just a few points behind Pittsburgh and New Jersey.

The three main pieces to these four wins were Jeff Carter, Scott Hartnell, and the goalies.

Let's start with Jeff Carter, who has been on fire over his last ten games. Over his last four games, Carter has four goals. But as I said above, over his last ten games, Carter has put up terrific numbers. He's scored nine goals (just two games without a goal) and three assists.

It seems that Jeff Carter has found his shooting touch and is figuring out when the right time to use his killer wrist shot is.

Mike Knuble is also playing with a hot stick. Over his last five games, Knuble has scored in all five, while scoring two in one of them (if you aren't the brightest math student, that is 6 goals). He's also contributed two assists and a plus/minus of three.

Finally, we have the duo of Martin Biron and Anterro Niittymaki doing everything right in net. It seems the two have finally figured things out.

In the first two games of the win streak, Martin Biron allowed three goals and two goals to the Devils in consecutive games, and was followed by a shutout by Niittymaki against Atlanta. Biron won the last game of the win streak by giving up just two goals to the Islanders.

So if you look at it, we've got someone down in front of the net playing very well, a shooter playing very well, and the netminders playing pretty well.

What about the defense, eh?

Well then how about Luca Sbisa? The rookie sensation is making his mark.

Over his last five games, Sbisa has contributed five assists and a plus/minus of four. He has also been on the ice for more than 19:00 for four of the five games.

You want another defenseman? Well Ossi Vaananen is playing well enough to make this list. Over his last five games, Ossi has recorded four assists and a plus/minus of five. He has been on the ice for more than 20:00 in all but on game, and that one game he was on the ice for 18:44.

All-in-all, we have a team who is playing on all cylinders. But the best sign is that the defense is playing well and it isn't coming from Braydon Coburn and Kimmo Timonen. Maybe that depth is a little better than we thought there.

The Flyers did lose a tough game to the Edmonton Oilers yesterday, but the offense kept up it's pace and picked up the defense in a bad game. It was a loss, but the team showed they have some fight and have persevered through the tough start.

They've convinced me that this team will be the resilient team last year, did they convince you yet?