Just a couple of weeks ago the Philadelphia Flyers looked like a team that was going nowhere fast.
They had won just eight of their first 26 games, were stuck in a 10-game losing streak, and coach Dave Hakstol seemed to be sitting on a seat that was getting warmer by the day.
A lot has changed in the two-and-a-half weeks since.
On Wednesday, they topped the Detroit Red Wings by a 4-3 margin to win for the seventh time in their past eight games and moved to within two points of a Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. After Wednesday’s game they are now tied with their cross-state rivals, the Pittsburgh Penguins, and are technically ahead of them for the moment because they still have a game in hand.
It is quite a turnaround for a Flyers team that on December 3 had the third-worst record in the NHL and was 10 points back of the Penguins.
The Flyers really seemed to take advantage of the fact the Red Wings were playing the second half of a back-to-back and really took over the game in the third period. The Flyers recorded 10 of the 14 shots on goal in the third period while also scoring the only goal.
That goal, the game-winner, was scored Sean Couturier as he continued breakthrough offensive season for the Flyers with his 16th goal of the season. That offensive production, combined with his great defensive play, is making him one of the league’s best two-way forwards and is going to get him plenty of attention in the Selke Trophy discussion.
Robert Hagg scored his first career goal for the Flyers to tie the game at three late in the second period.
Along with Couturier and Hagg, the Flyers’ three biggest offensive stars also showed up big time in this game. Claude Giroux recorded three assists, while Wayne Simmonds added a goal and an assist. Claude Giroux also picked up his league-leading 34th assist of the season.