The Philadelphia Flyers have reached a crossroads regarding their identity as a team. This identity involves things like purpose, intensity, drive, pop, those types of things all sort of rolled up together.
Facing a challenge of regrouping after a 4 game skid, the Flyers, as well as their fans, are looking for answers for their incredibly poor play. Many agree that it is not one single thorn in their side, but a combination of sub-par factors that aren't receiving enough attention to detail. I agree with that assessment and wish to emphasize the fact that these factors are all intertwined and greatly affected by one another.
For example, I believe Sergei Bobrovsky can win a cup for the Flyers. And, against the right matchups in the playoff run, Bouch can do it as well. However, the defense has to be on at all times. Bobrovsky has possibly the best post to post coverage in net of any other goaltender in the NHL, with perhaps a few exceptions. In my opinion, though, rebounds are one of his biggest weaknesses. However, it wasn't noticed nearly as much when the defense was playing outstanding hockey in the earlier parts of the season.
Right now, the defense is obviously in a rut. It looks mechanical and almost forced. They Flyers have also hit a period where they are starting to believe they can and maybe even will lose. For a lot of teams, it's extremely difficult to get out of that mindset. But the Flyers have more than enough tools to make it work. So I believe they will.
One of the other things I keep thinking about contributing to this slumping handful of games is that so far this season, the Flyers have not had to play any "playoff hockey" to win games. Their roster is so deep that they were able to get wins without having to really work all that hard. A period of pretty good hockey was enough. Now that a lot of team are getting close to their playoff form, the Flyers are now finally starting to see what kind of team they have to be and at what level in order to win more games.
As cliche as it sounds, that 7-0 blowout against the rangers is a huge wakeup call. That kind of play cannot continue. The intensity needs to increase, the drive, the pop, whatever you want to call it. That's how Montreal beat both Washington and Pittsburgh last year. They fought tooth and nail to get to the playoffs, reached their playoff level sooner than Washington really had a chance to breath. Same thing against Pittsburgh.
If the Flyers regroup and start to get in the right mindset in the next few games, they will be fine. I just hope they do it quickly enough to be able to match up with the other power house Eastern teams and before said teams take the conference lead away.
Thanks for reading.