How did our team climb out of the basement and into the playoffs? I'm amazed. So are many of the sports writers who counted us out after a very promising start and then a major slide. A few weeks ago the Flyers were near the bottom of the standings in the Conference! Yes, LAST in our division! And now we're making a move!
Coach Peter Laviolette, at the post game press conference following the FlyGuys defeat of the Dallas Stars said that the team is playing for home ice advantage. What an encouraging snipet for the Flyers Fan! Not playing for a playoff spot, but for home ice advantage. Makes me wonder if Laviolette has some crystal ball that he can see the future. Hey, Pete, is there a really big cup in there?
Flyers netminder Michael Leighton has the hot hand right now and is 9-0-1 in his last eleven starts with one no decision. When we were at the Classic, Bruins fans were asking who our goaltender is. Who is this guy blocking all the B's attempts at finding the net? We replied, "Michael Leighton" and they said "Who?" That's what we were thinking! He was released by Carolina, a backup goalie and we picked him up on waivers. Two weeks later, he's starting the Winter Classic. What an incredible piece of luck for him! Now with Emery back and ready for action it seems strange that the third stringer is getting the start! Boucher was a healthy scratch in the Dallas game with Emery riding the pine. He looked good skating during warmups but Leighton was HOT!!!!
It'll be interesting to see what happens with that situation. how long with the FlyGuys carry three goalies? Which goaltender will get sent down? I'm thinking Boosh goes to the Phantoms and we keep Leighton. I'm also thinking Emery will get the start against Columbus, providing Leighton doesn't start to slide.
On the defense and offense side, all the lines are performing. That crushing defeat in Pittsburgh was just the win they needed! Beating the Stanley Cup champions (gag) Pittsburgh Penguins in their own house was HUGE!!!!!! The string of wins is getting quite impressive, but ever the cautious Philadelphia sports fan, I'm thinking it's just a question of time. Not that I'm wishing the Flyers a loss but we've been beating lesser teams. With exception of the Pens this schedule has been pretty light. We have the Capitals coming up and tonight the Maple Leafs will seek revenge for the 2-6 loss they suffered last week. Not to mention the insane Dan Carcillo, who was exhibiting some major hockey skills when he scored on the Leafs and then, showing his badboy side, gave them a throat-cutting gesture as he skated past their bench afterwards. He was fined $2500 for that taunt! He's really becoming one of my favorite players!
In the Dallas game 14 players contributed points and we sent another goalie packing! A Gordy Howe Hat trick for Ian Laperriere was also a feature of the game. These guys are playing aggressive but disciplined. It's hard to explain. Can't wait to see what's in store tonight in TO!