Without stating the obvious, the Flyers' current four-game road trip figures to be the most pivotal of the season given the team went into Tuesday's game at Buffalo three points out of the wild card.
No one knows what the damage might be at the trip's conclusion on Saturday evening, but things really do have to pick up for Dave Hakstol's group if there are going to be playoffs this April at the Wells Fargo Center.
With apologies to former Inquirer colleague Bill Lyon, here are 10 things I think I think about the Flyers' 6-3 rout of the Sabres, who have lost seven of their last eight games (see Instant Replay).
The only minus Flyers were Ivan Provorov, Brayden Schenn, Andrew MacDonald and Valtteri Filppula.
The Flyers scored three goals in the second period to break a 1-1 tie (see game story). Their 68 goals in the middle stanza is nearly double (35) what they have scored in the first period this season.
1. Doug Allen sounded like he lost a little juice during the singing of the national anthems of both Canada and the U.S. Didn't even entice the crowd to join him like he usually does.
2. When was the last time Sean Couturier stripped a player of a puck and linemate Matt Read scored as a result? That's what transpired early when Couturier stunned Jack Eichel and Read redirected a Radko Gudas point shot for a goal. Cherish it. Could be a while before it happens again. It was Read's first goal in 12 games.
3. What a goal from Travis Konecny in the third period to make it 6-2. His last goal came in January before a lengthy injury. What was interesting was he went into the zone alone off the wing against four Sabres, who gave him space to skate and then scored to the far side of the net.
4. Michael Del Zotto had a nice setup at the right post on the second-unit power play in the opening period and failed to beat Robin Lehner. Del Zotto has not scored a goal since Dec. 14 at Colorado -- the final win for the Flyers in their 10-game win streak. Yes, he missed 10 games with a bone bruise, but this is the time of the season when setups like that matter greatly and Del Zotto is an offensive defenseman. Del Zotto and partner Gudas were both plus-5 in the game, a season first. Del Zotto lost a goal late to Chris VandeVelde on a scoring change.
5. Buffalo came into the game tied for first overall in power-play efficiency (22.9 percent) and made mincemeat of the Flyers on its first two chances with Evander Kane scoring to make it a 1-1 game and then Eichel scoring later.
6. Gudas was part of yet another Sabres turnover in the second period and shot one up high off the underside of the crossbar to give the Flyers a 2-1 lead. Gudas deserves credit for having turned his game around this season since beginning it on a suspension. He has found a way to play physical, cause havoc and turnovers without taking a bad penalty and is no longer actively on the referees' radar every game.
7. The Flyers' PK units were not very good. Eichel scored on the Sabres' second power play just three seconds after the drop of the puck. The Flyers have given up three power-play goals over their last two games.
8. Jordan Weal's go-ahead goal late in the second period at 3-2 was the result of a transition line created out of the Flyers' coming off the penalty kill with Couturier and Jakub Voracek. Weal has two goals in eight games, which puts him among the Flyers' top six scorers at the moment. His speed added an element to this game.
9. If you blinked late in the second period, you missed Claude Giroux's first goal in 13 games and 13th marker overall to give the Flyers a two-goal advantage. More significantly, Giroux has just three goals over his last 30 games. If the Flyers don't make the playoffs, that stat that will likely stand out.
10. It probably doesn't get enough credit but Couturier's unit with Read and the ever-irascible Nick Cousins did a superb job of applying defensive pressure to Eichel's line in this game.