By Connor Thomas
The Flyers are off to a strong start to their 2021-22 campaign, currently sitting with a 6-2-2 record through their first 10 games, but they have a tough stretch coming up the rest of this week. After 3 days off following their road win in Washington, the Flyers are back home tonight to face the Toronto Maple Leafs, then they’ll go on the road for a back to back Friday and Saturday against the Carolina Hurricanes and Dallas Stars. It will be a challenging couple of games, and the Flyers, who are sitting in 4th place in the Metro division, need a strong showing to stay in the early mix in the Eastern Conference.
The Leafs should be their easiest game of the 3, especially considering it’s the only home game of the stretch. Toronto is 4th place in the Atlantic division, very comparable to the Flyers, and they’ve won 4 of their last 5 games. John Tavares and Mitch Marner already have 13 points apiece, so the key for Philly tonight will be to neutralize those two dangerous options. With Carter Hart in net, there’s always a chance for a shutdown game though. The toughest test without a doubt will be Philly’s Friday night matchup in Carolina with the 1st place Hurricanes. The Canes own the NHL’s best record at 10-1, and they’ve allowed the least goals (21) of any team in hockey so far this year. The Flyers’ offensive resurgence so far this season has been a welcome occurrence, but they’ll need to most likely win a grind-it-out type of game if they want to go into Carolina and steal a win from the best team in hockey. While that’s going to be their toughest challenge, a game against the NHL’s best will be a great benchmark for telling just how good this Flyers team is.
Finally, the orange and black round out their week with a trip to Dallas to take on the Stars. The Stars had a Stanley Cup appearance in 2020, but have fallen off a little bit since then. They’re only in 5th place in the Central division, but they’re still a dangerous team, especially in their own building. Tyler Seguin is still a dangerous Center, and Defenseman Miro Heiskanen is off to a hot start to the year with 11 points already. The Stars do allow more goals than the average team, though, so the key to winning the ender to this week will be a couple lit lamps for the Flyers. They may get a boost at some point this week as Ryan Ellis and Kevin Hayes near returns, but reports from 97.5 The Fanatic’s own Jason Myrtetus are that the two are not being rushed back due to the team’s strong performance so far without them. No need to risk further injury in November when the Flyers’ goals sit much further along on the calendar. Hopefully this week will be another strong one for the squad to help cement those dreams as more of a possibility.