Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers All Star, scored his career best 18th goal of the season tonight and helped lead the Flyers to a 3-2 overtime victory over the Washington Capitals.
If you take a look at the Flyers scoring leaders, an overwhelming and very telling trend pops out. Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell and Jaromir Jagr lead the Flyers in scoring. Three players. One line. No balance.
The Flyers offseason makeover has resulted in a team that actually plays like a team. There is a lot more cohesion and leadership, but much less scoring balance at this point in the season. After reeling off 7 straight wins in the beginning of December, the Flyers have now lost 4 of their last 5. Some of those losses have been pretty ugly ones too (5-1 to the Lightning and 6-0 against the Bruins).
It seems to me that the Flyers have come to rely on one line for all of their scoring punch. If the scoring is not coming from Jagr, Hartnell or Giroux, it isn’t coming at all. And that is a trend the Flyers are going to have to reverse quickly.
I’m not trying to poo poo what players like Matt Read, Wayne Simmonds, Max Talbot and Danny Briere have contributed this season, but the Flyers have won or lost on the back of their first line.
There was a time period earlier in the season where it seemed like the rookies were contributing in a big way. Between injuries to Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier, it feels like those contributions have become less and less. Maybe it’s because the team is in a rough stretch that it feels that way. The fact is that players like Danny Briere and James van Riemsdyk and Wayne Simmonds need to step up and do a little bit more. If they can, the Flyers could be a very dangerous team.
A lot of that will depend on whether they can get a balanced attack offensively and whether their goaltender can find his form again.