That is the sense I get from this Flyer team.
The offense is starting to play with a greater level of consistency than I've seen for most of the year.
It might take some time after the Olympic break for the defensive pairs to gel as a cohesive unit., but it seems like they're getting there.
As for the goaltending, I have to say I'm pleasantly surprised by the play of Michael Leighton. He's been nothing short of a lifesaver.
I'll detail the offense here and get to the defense a little later.
The top line of Richards Gagne and Carcillo is working out. I thought it was crazy at first but it accomplishes two things; IT keeps Carcillo on a shorter leash, he plays with more discipline (See: TOR 3/7). It also keeps Gagne protected. People are less likely to take a run at him with Carcillo on the ice, and if you've watched Gagne this season it doens't take much in the way of a big hit to take him off his game this year.
The Carter Line. Ahhh the Carter line. It can be dazzling, it can be maddening. Carter is returning to his form from last year, not sure why there was such a lapse there but there was. Briere is settling into his role as a guy who makes WAAAY too much money for his production but is chipping in and buying into the system of hard work. As for Scott Hartnell I don't get it. He's playing like his skate covers are still on. If i have to watch him bumble around the ice and fall down coasting through shifts and lining up late hits for one more game my head might just explode like the guy from ReAnimator, you know the one, think Kilborn Daily Show. I think he needs to be a healthy scratch for a couple games, giving Leino a shot on the wing.
I think it's safe to say I expected more from Claude Giroux this season, as always he shows a few flashes of brilliance, but the pattern makes you wonder wether he can elevate his game to that level and stay there for an extended period of time. JVR needs to add some grit to his game, that said i think he is a tremendous young player in the making and the future net-front presence this franchise needs. I'm not Aaron Asham's biggest fan but i will say he's improved his game dramatically since earlier this year.
Our fourth line gets it done. On the surface that's not saying a whole lot, but if you look at Flyer fourth lines over the past couple years it is saying a lot. Betts and Laperierre do what they need to, they play smart positionally, kill penalties and rarely give up a stretch of extending posession in our zone. It's exactly what you want from your 4th line. I can't say enough about Darrell Powe. I love the way he plays the game. He gives 100% every shift. The forechecking, the hitting, the board play. If I were Holmgren i would take Harntell out and make him watch Powe for an entire game. If Hartnell played with half Powe's heart he'd be a perrenial all star.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, any and all comments are welcome.