8 reasons behind the Flyers' 8-game winning streak


Lose eight straight, win eight straight.

The Flyers pulled that off in a span of 18 games.

Since Jan. 10, they've passed 12 teams in the NHL standings, suddenly turning what looked like a lost season into one with playoff hopes. The Flyers entered Tuesday five points back of the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot.

How did they flip the switch? Let's break down eight reasons behind the eight-game winning streak:

1. Hart-stopper

At 20 years old, Carter Hart has been the Flyers' backbone.

He's won seven of the eight games, while posting a 2.40 goals-against average, .934 save percentage and an NHL-most 241 saves.

Hart is the fourth goalie to ever post a streak of seven or more wins before his 21st birthday, with Carey Price the last to do it in 2008.

Since stomaching his first NHL benching on New Year's Eve in Carolina, Hart has gone 8-2-1 with a 2.36 goals-against average and .933 save percentage, a response that speaks volumes about his mental makeup.

The kid has resuscitated this season.

2. Seeing is believing

The Flyers simply look like a different team. They're winning games that they would have lost in October, November, December and early last month. There's a confidence now that was nowhere to be found until about mid-January.

But interim head coach Scott Gordon mentioned on Jan. 3 how the Flyers needed a reason to be confident — results.

A goalie can infuse confidence throughout a roster.

After Hart backstopped a 2-1 win over the Stars on Jan. 10, James van Riemsdyk said it best:

When you have a goalie that's making big stops and has that coolness to him, for whatever reason, you can definitely feel that on the ice.

I would be curious to see what his heart rate gets to because he seems so cool under pressure.

3. Bench boost

Gordon has made systematic changes that are paying dividends (see story).

His team also looks markedly more comfortable — not tense — in close games. Yes, a lot of that has to do with Hart's presence in net, but Gordon's influence and message have made a difference, as well (see story).

"We're a confident team right now," Sean Couturier said Monday night. "We're making plays. We're not afraid to make plays, when we screw up or turn it over, we've got to battle hard to get it back — that's huge."

Prior to Gordon's arrival, the Flyers had three wins in one-goal games through 31 contests. In 22 games under Gordon, they have nine wins in one-goal games.

4. Core is clicking

The core's clock has been in serious question this season and that's natural when a team with a long-tenured group is in the NHL basement more than halfway through the year.

The Flyers needed more proof and production from their veteran pieces, which has created a trickle-down effect to the youngsters.

Couturier has done yeoman's work with a team-leading 10 points (five goals, five assists) and plus-8 rating during the streak.

Jakub Voracek has put up nine points, while Giroux has scored eight. 

Van Riemsdyk is pouring in goals with five (and seven in his last 10 games).

And Wayne Simmonds has provided three big goals after scoring only three in his previous 18 games.

5. Getting defensive

Flyers defensemen have been quietly terrific.

Since Jan. 14, the start of the streak, Robert Hagg leads the NHL in blocked shots with 31, followed by Travis Sanheim at No. 2 with 26. Andrew MacDonald and Ivan Provorov are tied for fifth with 22 apiece.

Overall, the Flyers are first in the league with 176 blocked shots over the streak.

Meanwhile, Provorov has played 26:02, Radko Gudas has been physical but smart (23 hits, no penalties) and Shayne Gostisbehere is finding his offense (four assists in five games).

6. Power surge

Thanks to a three-game eruption, the Flyers' power play has climbed from 31st in the NHL to 23rd. The man advantage has gone 7 for 10 over the last three games after going 6 for 44 over the previous 16 games.

"The power play hasn't won us a lot of games this year," Giroux said last Saturday.

It has won them the last three and the Flyers can build off of those results.

7. Quite the complement

When Nolan Patrick and Oskar Lindblom are supplementing the veterans, the Flyers go to another level.

During the run, Patrick has been a point-per-game player (five goals, three assists) and all over the puck, while Lindblom has played superbly next to Couturier and Voracek, scoring three goals and handing out three assists.

Sixteen of Patrick's 19 points this season have come in victories and six of Lindblom's seven goals have been scored in wins.

8. Safety valve

Travis Konecny has jolted the second-unit power play, a much-needed element considering the prior struggles from the first unit.

The 21-year-old has three power-play points (one goal, two assists) and seven points overall in the streak, including three timely goals.

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