By Emily Briggs || Contributing Writer
The Philadelphia Flyers had a great season this year. Although they didn’t make it to the Stanley Cup, they earned the No. 1 seed after an amazing regular season and reached the second round of the playoffs. The team worked harder than they had in the last couple of years, and it paid off.
Alain Vigneault was hired as the new head coach for the Flyers last April, and with his help, the team transformed into a finely oiled machine. The season began in October with the Flyers facing off against the Chicago Blackhawks, with Carter Hart as the starting goalie. Although the Flyers won their opening game 4-3 and defeated the New Jersey Devils 4-0 in their second game, they had a rough next couple of weeks, losing their next 4 games.
Their losing streak can be explained by the team simply adjusting to a new lineup and coaching staff, as once they found their footing, they were on a roll. In February, the team had a 9 game winning streak, which set the momentum for the rest of the season until games were postponed in the middle of March due to COVID-19.
When games restarted in August, the Flyers kept their momentum by earning the title of Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seed for the first time since 2000 after winning the round-robin. Things were looking good for the Flyers as they entered round one of the playoffs against the Canadiens.
However, this year was a different type of playoff season than ever before because of COVID-19. All sixteen teams competing entered the NHL bubble in Toronto and were not allowed to leave until their elimination from the playoffs. The stadium was devoid of fans, but pre-recorded cheers and the iconic gameday music still played to add a sense of normalcy for the players.
The Flyers started the playoffs off strong, winning four of the six games against the Canadiens. After beating the Canadiens 3-2 in Game 4, the Flyers moved on to the second round to face the Islanders. Their series against the Islanders was like a game of battleship, each team fighting furiously and making strategic moves to win. The Flyers were able to push to a Game 7 after winning a wild Game 6. In Game 6, Flyers goalie Carter Hart had a career-high of forty-nine saves, but sadly it was not enough as the Islanders secured a 5-4 victory in double overtime. Unfortunately, the Islanders took Game 7 in a landslide, winning 4-0.
Although the team didn’t make it to the Stanley Cup, this season sure was fun to watch. Since 2013, the Flyers had either missed the playoffs or made it to the playoffs only to lose in the first round, so this is the farthest the team has gotten since 2012. Fans had a great time watching the team this year, and all NHL fans were happy to have hockey back after a 4-month hiatus because of the pandemic. Nevertheless, things are looking up for the Philadelphia Flyers, and there is a bright future ahead of them for the 2020-21 season. We know that they’ll be ready to bring their game #AnytimeAnywhere.
Junior Emily Briggs is a Contributing Writer. Her email is email@example.com.