Sean Cornely, Staff
Header Image: PhillyVoice
The Flyers seemed to be off to a great start in the beginning of the year, especially after taking down the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3 and then 5-2 in a back-to-back fashion. However, problems emerged after Selke Winner Sean Couturier went down with a harsh rib injury, causing head coach Alain Vigneault, also referred to as “AV,” to shift the lines around quite a bit. He recalled young gun Morgan Frost, who immediately got injured, alongside Phil Meyers, and was forced to play both Sam Morin and AHL journeyman Nate Prosser.
The Flyers went on to lose three of their next four games, once to the Buffalo Sabres, and twice to the Boston Bruins. Both games were borderline embarrassing. Headlined by an inability to get pucks on net and a lackluster defensive effort, the Flyers looked disinterested, lazy and just flat out bad.
They hit the road on Jan. 26 to take on the New Jersey Devils up in Newark, looking for an opportunity to bounce back. And bounce back they did. Philly went out and took down the Devils 5-3 in a win that finally felt good. James van Riemsdyk potted two deflections on the power play, a point of concern for the Flyers since the NHL Playoff Bubble in Toronto. Captain Claude Giroux slapped his haters in the face that night after racking up three assists in the game that made him the longest tenured captain in Philadelphia Flyers history. 20-year-old Joel Farabee netted a goal as well after not putting up a point since his four point outing in his season debut, a good rebound for the promising young player.
After a day off, the Flyers headed back into the Prudential Center to take on the Devils again in the second leg of their series, to which the Flyers prevailed. The 3-1 win launched the Flyers’ momentum and clearly helped the team gain confidence. Nate Prosser even netted his first goal as a Flyer in the first period. The struggling defenseman Eric Gustafsson slapped together two assists to get his confidence back up, and the young, talented goalie Carter Hart made 33 saves, allowing only one goal.
Gritty’s favorite team returned to Philadelphia to take on the New York Islanders in a quick two game series. After not being able to beat them in regulation the entire playoffs last summer, the Flyers decided to do the exact same thing and only beat them in overtime in two consecutive games. OT heroes Scott Laughton and Kevin “Hollywood” Hayes both netted game winning goals respectively. Joel Farabee turned it up a notch as he collected his first career hat-trick in the second game, to which Gritty promptly tossed an industrial sized Flyers hat onto the ice. This hat-trick was historical for Young Beezer as he became the second youngest Flyer to sore a hat-trick, next to Legend Eric Lindros. He also became the fourth member of the orange and black to net a hat-trick before turning 21 years old.
On Feb. 3, the Flyers took a 4-3 loss against the Boston Bruins, followed by a 2-1 loss to them on Feb. 5. On Feb. 7 the Flyers broke their losing streak with a 7-4 victory over the Washington Capitals. They will play the Capitals again on Feb. 9.