They're still kicking. Somehow.
The Flyers were red-hot this past week, winning all four games on the slate as they kept their exponentially slim playoff hopes alive.
This past week included win a 6-2 win in Pittsburgh over the rival Penguins on Sunday, a 3-2 shootout win over the visiting Ottawa Senators on Tuesday, a 6-3 triumph over the New York Islanders on Thursday night in South Philly and a 3-0 shutout win over the visiting New Jersey Devils on Saturday evening.
Let's dive a bit further into the week that was for the Flyers.
• Where were these Flyers the last several months? The Flyers erupted for 17 goals this past week, 18, if you count the shootout winner Tuesday vs. the Sens. How monumental, was this offensive eruption for this group of Flyers? For a one-month stretch from Jan. 14 to Feb. 15, it took the Flyers 13 games to score a total of 18 goals. Of course, the first thought it is that maybe if these goals were there earlier in the year, maybe the Flyers wouldn't be in this situation on the outside looking in and with hopes of playing into mid-April on life support. And rightfully so. Wayne Simmonds said it best earlier this week when asked about the Flyers' spot in the standings and the fact they need a lot of help to get in -- this situation was caused by self-inflicted wounds.
• Speaking of lighting up the net, the Flyers' power play rose from the dead this past week. After Sunday's game in Pittsburgh, the Flyers were 3 for their last 46 with the man advantage. Starting with Tuesday's showing against Ottawa, the Flyers' power play is 4 for its last 11. What's been the difference? Look at the blue line, and specifically Shayne Gostisbehere. Ghost has once again discovered his ability to get his booming slapper from the point on net consistently. Brayden Schenn tipped home a Ghost drive Tuesday and Simmonds painfully deflected one home off his knee on Thursday. Ghost is clearly healthy again and it shows. But, more importantly, he's supremely confident again. Both are huge boosts to the Flyers' power play.
• Michal Neuvirth's episode on Saturday against the Devils was frightening. If you somehow missed it, Neuvirth collapsed suddenly in his crease and laid prone on the ice for several moments before he sat up and was wheeled off the ice on a stretcher. This past summer, I wrote a feature story on a charity basketball tournament with NBA players called the Danny Rumph Classic. It's named after a former Philly high school hoops star who died suddenly during a pick-up game from cardiac arrest traced back to a heart ailment. As morbid as this sounds, you can't help but think of things like when you see a healthy athlete such as Neuvirth collapse out of the blue. Fortunately, Neuvirth was released from the hospital Sunday and is home resting as everything seems to be related to a respiratory infection.
• Anthony Stolarz looked solid when pressed into duty in a tough situation on Saturday night. Remember, he didn't take warmups and didn't even arrive at the Wells Fargo Center from Lehigh Valley until 6:55 p.m. Saturday. He stopped all 26 shots he faced. And while the Devils aren't the most offensively gifted team in the league, Stolarz was still challenged at times. New Jersey had a strong flurry toward the end of the second period, but Stolarz stood tall and stopped a couple Devils' chances right on the doorstep. The Flyers' goaltending situation this summer is going to be a tricky one, but that's another story for another day.
• How about Jordan Weal? The kid just keeps delivering as he scored in all four Flyers' wins this past week. But it's not just that he can put the puck in the net. It's how he puts the puck in the net from the dirty areas around the crease. The 24-year-old is just 5-foot-10, but he goes to the gritty areas and he gets rewarded for it. Remember, it's not about how you score them. They all count the same in the end. Weal has been a real nice spark for a team that desperately needed some offensive juice.
• On both Thursday and Saturday, the Flyers had prime chances to move up the standings as the teams they're chasing in the wild-card hunt were all in action. The Flyers took care of business. The problem is that the other teams did, too. Destiny isn't a fun thing when you don't do nearly enough to put it in your own hands.
Coming up this week: Sunday at N.Y. Rangers (7:30 p.m./NBCSN), Tuesday at New Jersey (7 p.m./CSN), Saturday vs. Columbus (12:30 p.m./CSN), Sunday vs. Carolina (7 p.m./CSN)