October was a terrible month for the Philadelphia Flyers. November has been anything but. It's almost a night and day contrast – the Flyers are a completely different team in the second month of the season than in the first. Take their current seven-game point streak, for instance. Out of a possible 14 points in the past seven games, the Flyers have picked up 13 points. This almost unprecedented streak has catapulted them back up to the .500 mark, and out of the cellar in the Metropolitan Division and the Eastern Conference. Their latest victory came Saturday night as they hosted the New York Islanders and won 5-2.
With Saturday night's win, the Flyers have won six out of their last seven, only losing out on points in a 3-2 shootout loss in Winnipeg on November 15th. Their five goal outburst against the struggling Islanders was marked by a full team effort. It started with solid play from Steve Mason, which was backed up by more good defense, which has been more characteristic of the team as of late. And then of course, the scoring was scattered beautifully by the offense, although Matt Read did pick up two of the five goals. Read is possibly the hottest player on the team, now with four goals in his past two games – he's scored twice in two straight contests.
The game's first period was fairly even, with both teams registering ten shots and no goals. However, things were blown wide open nearly as soon as the second period began. The Flyers would score three goals in three minutes and two seconds, with Matt Read getting the Flyers on the board with his seventh of the season. Just 59 seconds later, Wayne Simmonds lit the lamp, squeaking another shot past Kevin Poulin for a quick 2-0 lead. About a minute later, Thomas Vanek was called for hooking, and Claude Giroux made the Islanders pay on the power play, tallying his third of the year. Poulin would be pulled for Anders Nilsson immediately following the Flyers' outburst.
The Islanders would fight back, however. John Tavares beat Steve Mason later in the second period to make it a 3-1 game. Just under three minutes into the third period, Eric Boulton scored his first of the year for the Islanders, cutting it to a 3-2 lead. The teams would battle hard into the middle of the third period, but then Brayden Schenn snapped one past Anders Nilsson for a 4-2 lead and a bit of insurance for the home team. The Flyers would shut the Islanders down for the rest of the game, and would add an empty-netter from Matt Read in the final minute of the game.
The win propels the Flyers to 10-10-2, after falling to a 4-10-1 mark following a 3-0 shutout at the hands of the visiting New Jersey Devils on November 7th. They are a completely different team that is playing with more synergy than they've had perhaps since the Pittsburgh series in the 2012 playoffs. The only constant that's remained since their faltering start to the season is Steve Mason's strong play. The defense has risen to the occasion and made Mason's job a little less demanding. The offense has completely come to life, and the team is averaging nearly four goals per game since the point streak began.
The only fly in the ointment at this point is a tough schedule that looms ahead, with eight out of their next nine games coming on the road. They'll go on the road for six straight games after playing twice this week – once on the road, and once at home. They'll travel to Florida to play the Panthers Monday night.
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