The Philadelphia Flyers are in the fight of their lives right now, competing for a long-awaited return to the Stanley Cup playoffs. They’ve been dominating the month of March and outplaying their opponents, hoping to hang on to that eighth-seed wildcard spot and sneak into the postseason. Whether or not they reach this goal, this Flyers season is one for the books.
An “underdog” is defined in the dictionary as a person or group in a competition, usually in sports and creative works, who is popularly expected to lose. This Flyers team is the underdog, and would have to deal with facing top-seed and Cup-favorite Washington if they were to make the playoffs as the eighth seed.
The Flyers face the Arizona Coyotes Saturday night. Steve Mason, who has stolen the show and kept Philadelphia in each and every game since Michal Neuvirth‘s gotten injured, was banged up a bit in Thursday’s 4-2 win over Colorado, but he is confident, ready to go and will get the nod in net.
“He’s 100 percent fine,” Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol said of Mason after Friday’s optional skate.
Claude Giroux has scored in three straight contests for Philadelphia, and he has shown the NHL that the old, dangerous Giroux is back and ready to claim his playoff spot. Leading by example, he is doing whatever he can to play the best hockey and help his team return to the postseason.
The real star of the season, however, has been rookie defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere. He has been phenomenal for the Flyers on the backend and has had record-breaking point streaks. “Ghost Bear” is by far the best part of Philadelphia’s story this season and is entering the Calder race as a dark horse who may just take home the trophy.
Another player who has helped make a positive impact of late is Radko Gudas. The tough defenseman has been igniting some of the offense, with five goals in his last 10 games, and even provided some leverage on Thursday, when he scored within 19 seconds of Giroux to help the Flyers conquer Colorado. Not to mention, he’s played some impressive defense as well.
“It’s awesome being a part of it and contributing for the team,” Gudas said. “Especially for these important games at this crucial time of the season.”
Philadelphia has what it takes to pull off an upset and steal the last Wildcard spot from the Detroit Red Wings. The pages just have to keep turning, and all the elements of the story have to keep working. No matter how it ends for Philadelphia, this story will be one to never forget.