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Whatâ€™s Next For The Flyers?
By Victor Cabrera
The Flyers made the playoffs in the 2015-2016 season as the second wild card team for Eastern Conference where they would face the Washington Capitals. Losing the series to the Capitals 4-2 regardless of attempting to come from a devastating 3-0 series lead. A first round loss was not what the Flyers wanted despite facing the best team in the NHL. To top it off the Stanley Cup champions came out to be the state rival, Pittsburgh Penguins. The pressure has now grown for Philadelphia as they look to make a better regular and playoff season performance in 2016-2017
Philadelphia had a season record of 41-27-14 for 96 points and the only Philadelphia sports team to make the playoffs during 2015-2016. The playoffs would start off bad as they would drop the first three games to the Capitals only managing to score two goals and allowing 12. It seemed as if they would be the first team to say goodbye from the playoffs but in Games 4 and 5 the Flyers were able to shut down the red-hot Washington offense and begin to score goals. Mostly because of a goalie change from Steve Mason the starter who lost in all three of his net appearances, to Michal Neuvirth who won his first two starts in the playoffs and lost one. The offense scored four goals and only allowed one total between Game 4 and 5. In yet another must-win situation the Flyers played a tight game six but Nicklas Backstrom of the Capitals would score the only goal of the game in the mid-frame and ultimately eliminated the Flyers. The journey was short and the rally came a little too late but, it prepares the Flyers for next season.
The Flyers were offensively led by their captain Claude Giroux and alternate captain Wayne Simmonds. Giroux lead the team in assists and points dishing out 45 assists and 67 total points. Simmonds would lead the Flyers in goals and the league leading 15th top goal scorer with 32 and a total of 60 points. Their offensive leadership would come to a screeching halt in the playoffs, Giroux dishing out a single assist and Simmonds dishing out two assists. Defensively all eyes were on the rookie Shayne Gostisbehere or “Ghost” as he was referred too. The rookie would play in 64 games and register 17 goals and 29 assists for 46 points. In the playoffs, he was a Ghost quite literally as in the six games he played he only scored once and assisted once. Mason was the leading netminder recording 23 wins in the 54 games he played while the playoffs were just an utter disaster for him.
The problem was that Philadelphia gave it their all to lock up the final wild card spot and as a result, the hottest team in the league took them down with almost no fight. The players who were big in the regular season and along with the whole team failed to do what they had done through the regular season which was to score. The whole team finally started clicking when they were down 3-0 in the series a little too late which cost them a first round exit. The Flyers need to improve on being more consistent. The whole season is going to rely on winning those key rival games and road games to ensure they make the playoffs and can perform much better than this past season. With better consistency, the Flyers can make a much bigger impact on the 2016-2017 season.
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