After starting the season 4-10-1, the Philadelphia Flyers have done well to get back in the playoff race. But now they face another challenge — eight road games in their next nine, starting tonight in Florida against a Panthers side that just went 2-2-1 on a tough five-game journey of its own.
“This is a challenge,” Flyers d-man Braydon Coburn said, per CSN Philly. “Anytime you go on the road for an extended period of time, it’s a challenge to the hockey club. You need to become road warriors.”
The Flyers have six wins and a shootout loss in their last seven, and that’s good. But with the exception of Pittsburgh, their competition over that stretch wasn’t. Two wins came versus imploding Ottawa; the three others over Edmonton, Buffalo, and the Islanders, currently three of the four worst teams in the NHL.
Of note, the last time the Flyers played the Panthers, on Oct. 8, goalie Steve Mason stopped 33 of 34 shots to earn Philadelphia its first victory of the season.
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It’s going to be interesting to see if Hammond can replicate the success he had last season, when he came out of nowhere to go 20-1-2 with a 1.79 GAA and .941 save percentage, and finish seventh in Vezina voting.