The 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs are down to four teams and the winners of NHL awards will start being unveiled Monday.
With this unprecedented season nearing the final leg, let's get into our latest three Flyers thoughts.
1. Familiar with the final four
Interestingly, two of the final four clubs still standing are the two teams the Flyers faced in last season's playoffs.
The Canadiens have been this postseason's Cinderella story and stare down the Golden Knights in a semifinal series that starts Monday (9:30 p.m. ET/NBCSN). For a rematch of the 2020 Eastern Conference Final, the Islanders square off against the Lightning in the other semifinal series, which begins Sunday (3 p.m. ET/NBC).
During the 2020 playoffs, the Flyers beat the Canadiens in the first round through six games before being eliminated by the Islanders in Game 7 of the second round. The Flyers had real difficulty scoring against the two clubs, putting up 2.08 goals per game in 13 contests over the first and second rounds. The Flyers held Montreal and New York to a combined 2.85 goals per game.
The Islanders have scored the second-most goals per game in the 2021 playoffs with 3.58 after two rounds, while the Canadiens have surrendered the second-fewest per game at 2.18. Yeah, Carey Price is still doing his thing.
The teams have changed a bit from one season to the next, but from the Flyers' perspective, it's not an awful sign that the two clubs they faced last postseason — one they beat, one with which they went the distance — are among this season's final four competing for the Cup. From the Carter Hart bouncing back perspective, it's also not a bad sign that the 22-year-old fared well against the two clubs last postseason: 7-5-0, 2.43 goals-against average and .919 save percentage.
This season, the Flyers (25-23-8) actually had more wins than the Canadiens (24-21-11). Realigned divisions were one of many unique aspects to the 2020-21 season.
That disastrous 6-10-1 March after the Feb. 9-15 COVID-19 shutdown completely derailed the Flyers. The way it all snowballed was like a perfect storm; the Flyers couldn't recover and now they must rebound in 2021-22.
2. Feeling for the Hart
Nathan MacKinnon, Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid were announced on Thursday as the three finalists for the 2020-21 Hart Memorial Trophy (NHL MVP). McDavid, with his historic 105 points in a shortened season, is the clear favorite to win the honor.
The last Flyer to win the Hart Trophy was Eric Lindros in 1994-95. Bob Clarke was a three-time winner of the award in the 70s. Claude Giroux was the most recent to come closest to joining the club when he finished fourth in the 2017-18 voting.
If you had to pick one current Flyer to be the next to win a Hart Trophy, who would it be? We'll say Joel Farabee given he's only 21, he's a goal-scoring winger, he broke out this season and should have a long career in Philadelphia ahead of him.
As for the other NHL awards this season, the winner of the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy will be announced Tuesday. Flyers winger Oskar Lindblom is a finalist.
The Flyers don't have a finalist for any other awards. Here is when each award will be announced.
3. Broadcast like the best
There's no offseason for legendary Flyers play-by-play broadcaster Jim Jackson.
The voice of the Flyers since the mid-90s is mentoring aspiring broadcasters with three group seminars this summer, the first coming up on June 26. Up until June 19, Jackson is offering an early bird signup special of $179 for any one of the seminars.
For those interested, click right here and see more details below. An awesome and invaluable opportunity.
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