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Carchidi: On the Flyers, Their Playoff Chances, and Bryz Lite



Tyson Foerster (AP photo)
Rookie Tyson Foerster scored his 10th goal of the season Thursday as the Flyers defeated Winnipeg,4-1, for their second straight win. Photo: AP.

Observations along the Flyers’ beat…

The All-Star break couldn’t have come at a better time for the Philadelphia Flyers.

Before the break, they had lost five in a row and appeared to be running on fumes. They are 2-0 since returning,  recording quality wins against Florida and Winnipeg, two strong opponents.

Sam Ersson, the team’s new No. 1 goalie, struggled in his last four games before the break. Refreshed, he is 2-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average and .960 save percentage since the break ended, keying both victories. The Flyers dominated the first period Thursday but played too much defense over the last 40 minutes. Ersson, however, stood tall and Philly was never threatened in its 4-1 win over the visiting Jets.

“We have to close out games better, but Erssy was great for us again,” center Scott Laughton said.

Apparently upset about the last two periods, Coach John Tortorella didn’t seem pleased, giving terse answers to questions after the game. But hey, two points is two points is two points.

In their previous four games before Thursday, the Flyers had been outscored in the first period by a combined 7-0. They turned the tables against the Jets, outscoring them, 3-0, in the first 20 minutes. Travis Konecny had a Gordie Howe hat trick — a goal, fight, and assist — in the opening period.

Torts was in a good mood then.

By the way, Howe had only two such hat tricks in his entire career.

Former Flyer Rick Tocchet had 18, the most in NHL history.


Nice to see right winger Tyson Foerster heating up. He struggled to find the net earlier in the season but scored in his third straight game Thursday, netting the first goal and setting the tone. He now has 10 goals in 51 games and has impressed everyone with his strong two-way play.

The Flyers got it right when they chose him 23rd overall in the 2020 draft.

Thanks in part to Foerster, Philly leads the league in chances off transition this season. Foerster’s goal was a prime example of why they are getting those opportunities as he drove to the net and finished off Ryan Poehling’s feed. In the second period, Poehling’s shorthanded goal was also off the rush.

“We play so fast and it’s hard for teams to keep up with us,” Poehling said.


On Sirius XM NHL Network Radio on Thursday, host Steve Kouleas asked if I thought the Philadelphia Flyers would make the playoffs.

I told him the Flyers deserve lots of credit, that Tortorella is getting more out of them than imaginable.

But that if I was backed into a corner, I think they will miss the playoff party.

Again, they have overachieved and have made watching them fun again; rarely does an opponent outwork them. But I think losing Carter Hart, a questionable offense, and an awful power play will catch up to them. And the fact the Flyers will probably trade a veteran or two also factors into it being difficult for them to earn their first playoff spot in four years.

That said, they are having fun trying to prove the doubters wrong.


Should the Flyers be buyers or sellers before the March 8 trade deadline?


Yes, it would be wonderful for the young players to get a taste of the playoffs, but this year’s focus should be on the rebuild. If you read between the lines, GM Danny Briere feels the same way.

The Flyers could improve their playoff chances by adding a piece or two. If it comes at the expense of high draft picks, it would be a major mistake. That’s why I believe two of the following four players will be dealt: Laughton, Nick Seeler, Sean Walker and Rasmus Ristolainen.  Marc Staal might also go, but he would only net a nominal return.


As colleague Jon Bailey noted in an interesting story the other day, the Flyers will have the opportunity to draft promising goalie Vladislav Bryzgalov, 18, this June. He is the son of former Flyer Ilya Bryzgalov.

The odds on that happening are slim and slimmer.

“Why you heff to be mad?” the elder Bryzgalov, now 43, would probably counter.

Signing Ilya turned out to be a Bryzaster, and I’d be shocked if they wanted to have him back around the rink and be a potential distraction.

For the record, covering Bryz was a blast. He was colorful, funny, unique and a quote machine.  In other words, he was a beat writer’s “humungous” dream.

Sam Carchidi writes a weekly column for Philly Hockey Now. He and Jeff Hare are working on a TV series on the Flyers’ glory days, tentatively called “Bullies.” Carchidi can be reached at

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