Flyers

Flyers weekly observations: No goals but positives, Connor Bunnaman returns, Claude Giroux's birthday

Flyers weekly observations: No goals but positives, Connor Bunnaman returns, Claude Giroux's birthday

The Flyers went 1-1-1 over the past week and entered Sunday holding the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot via tiebreaker.

After a 1-4-1 road trip, the Flyers are hoping some home cooking can push them back into a more comfortable position within the playoff race. Before their NHL-mandated bye week from Jan. 22-30, the Flyers play four of five games at the Wells Fargo Center, where they've performed significantly better compared to on the road.

Let's get into some weekly observations:

• As frustrating as it is to be shut out, the Flyers can take a lot positives away from Saturday night's 1-0 loss to the Lightning.

That Tampa Bay team was scoring 4.67 goals per game over its nine-game winning streak coming into Philadelphia and the Flyers held it to one flukey goal.

Last season, the Flyers allowed 5.67 goals per game to the Lightning in three matchups (all losses). Holding the Capitals and Lightning to a combined three goals and 0 for 9 on the power play in back-to-back games is nothing to fret about.

The Flyers have had issues with consistently producing on the offensive side, but that's the defensive response the Flyers needed after allowing 28 goals (15 in the first period) on the six-game road swing.

• The Flyers recalled forward Connor Bunnaman from AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley on Sunday and loaned winger David Kase to the Phantoms.

The move has a lot to do with the Flyers' play down the middle. The team wants to play Scott Laughton on the wing, where he's been more effective in greater minutes.

Near the end of the preseason, general manager Chuck Fletcher was high on Bunnaman's ability to play fourth-line center. The 6-foot-3, 214-pounder will get his shot to give the Flyers better flexibility within their lineup.

But if Morgan Frost starts putting up points with the Phantoms, he won't be far away from giving the Flyers another offensive jolt (and more balance) down the middle. The Flyers needed the 20-year-old playmaker back in November and might need him again soon.

• Claude Giroux turned 32 years old on Sunday.

Among the Flyers' all-time franchise leaders, the captain is second in assists (544), third in games played (865), fourth in points (793) and 10th in goals (249).

Since the 2011-12 season, Giroux is third among active NHL players in points (643), behind only Patrick Kane (692) and Sidney Crosby (661).

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers

Flyers trade Jean-Francois Berube to Rangers

Flyers trade Jean-Francois Berube to Rangers

Save the splashes for the deadline, right?

The Flyers made a minor trade Wednesday night by dealing goalie Jean-Francois Berube to the Rangers in exchange for future considerations.

Berube, 28, went 12-11-4 with a 2.56 goals-against average and .906 save percentage in 29 games for AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley this season. Berube, who has 34 games of NHL experience between stints with the Islanders and Blackhawks, was signed by the Flyers on July 1 to a one-year, two-way contract worth $700,000.

The Flyers have young goalie prospects Felix Sandstrom and Kirill Ustimenko on their farm. Sandstrom, a 2015 third-round pick, and Ustimenko, a 2017 third-round selection, have appeared in a game apiece with the Phantoms this season. Both have played primarily with ECHL affiliate Reading in 2019-20.

The trade of Berube should provide developmental opportunity for Sandstrom, 23, and Ustimenko, 21, at the AHL level. On Friday night, the Flyers promoted Ustimenko to Lehigh Valley.

The Flyers' backup goaltending situation is unclear for 2020-21. Brian Elliott and Alex Lyon can become unrestricted free agents in the offseason.

Meanwhile, the NHL trade deadline is Monday of next week.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers

Flyers Talk podcast: NHL playoff race, trade deadline and more

Flyers Talk podcast: NHL playoff race, trade deadline and more

On the latest Flyers Talk podcast, NBC Sports Philadelphia's Katie Emmer and Jordan Hall debate the playoff race and share some insight on Claude Giroux.

From the Jeff Carter buzz to Nolan Patrick's situation, it's time to talk all things Flyers:

• 0:40 — Emmer loves to sing (hear her beautiful voice at the end)

2:00 — The win over the Blue Jackets looked like a statement

16:45 — Emmer wants to see postseason hockey in Philly

17:50 — Are the Flyers about to solidify their playoff berth?

24:40 — A Carter reunion?!?!

28:00 — Will Patrick play this season?

33:20 — Insight on Giroux as a Flyer

41:15 — Trade deadline show!

42:10 — Emmer's hockey joke of the day!

Subscribe and rate Flyers Talk: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers