Coming Out Of A Break; Flyers Look to Keep Their Past Behind Their Future
Now that the 2012 NHL All-Star weekend is a memory, we can get back to the hockey that matters. To many fans, that's a thrilling and exciting thought. To Flyers fans, it means more nail biting and covering our eyes.
See, in recent years the breaks in our Bullies' schedule haven't been very kind to our Win column. Since the 2003-04 season, the Flyers have gone 33 - 28 - 9 in 70-games played (counting only their records from the first 10-games following the break) after either the All-Star break or Winter Olympics break.
That's a winning percentage of 47%. I guess the only good news from that record is that if history has any influence on the present, then the Flyers have a 60% chance of getting at least a point per game in the next 10-tilts.
The point is: Breaks in the schedule suck --
|2003 - 04
||6 - 3 - 1 after the All-Star break
|2004 - 05
|2005 - 06
||4 - 5 - 1 after the Olympic break
|2006 - 07
||4 - 3 - 3 after the All-Star break
|2007 - 08
||3 - 7 - 0 after the All-Star break
|2008 - 09
||5 - 4 - 1 after the All-Star break
|2009 - 10
||5 - 3 - 2 after the Olympic break
|2010 - 11
||6 - 3 - 1 after the All-Star break
Eh, not terrible. But certainly not promising. Especially considering the opponents we face in the next 10-games of our current schedule.
Between tomorrow and February 18th, our Flyers battle against the Rangers twice -- once away, once at in the Well. As you already know, our record against them this season stands at 0 - 3. Facing them twice in a stretch of 10-contests is worrisome.
Then there's teams like the Predators, Red Wings, Penguins, Devils and the Leafs. These are NOT sure-wins. Detroit's proven to be one of the Top Three NHL oppositions this season, and Nashville already once caught us off guard before. Pittsburgh is looking to snap their skid against us, and it really depends on which Toronto squad shows up on February 9th.
Then there's teams like the Islanders and Sabres; Two clubs struggling this season that (on paper) the Flyers SHOULD beat, but could wind up just being two other trap losses.
I haven't even mentioned who we're clashing right out of the gates.
The Jets are just one of those teams this season that have our number. They're like the 2010-11 Tampa Bay Bolts. No need to remind everyone about what happened the first time we faced off against the ex-Thrashers. But the second time?
Two games. Two losses. And they weren't good losses either. As far as I'm concerned, the Flyers, more or less, beat themselves. It was because of piss poor defense, lousy goaltending, turnovers, and not enough puck possession that cost us all prior 4-points.
Then again, we DID put up 8-goals against them back in October. So perhaps my puck possession argument carries more weight from the November loss.
On top of everything else, February will be Ilya Bryzgalov's biggest test. This will be his Make-or-Break moment and (hopefully) deliver a final decision made by head bench boss Peter Laviolette on which horse he's gonna ride the hardest in the latter half of our schedule.
Up till now, Bryz is sporting an 18 - 10 - 4 record with a .895 SV% and 2.99 GAA.
His backup, Sergei "The Bob" Bobrovsky calls that record with his own 11 - 4 - 1, .919 SV%, and 2.42 GAA.
The numbers may calculate the decision as an easy one, but it's tough to sit your $51-Million goalie behind his backup this soon. Yes, this soon. Let's hope the Flyers get through the next 20-days with flying colors.
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(Scott Hartnell chillin' on the All-Star ice, photo courtesy of NHL.com)