Cheers, jeers and what shouldn't be lost for Flyers fans in the Brad Marchand shootout madness


As Brad Marchand skated past the puck and circled back, the realization quickly settled in for the Flyers and their fans anticipating a big save from Carter Hart.

They didn’t need one. Not even close.

With the puck still at center ice, lonely and hardly moved, the Wells Fargo Center was as loud as it has been all season.

Flyers fans raucously cheered the crazy comeback and, more enjoyably, jeered the Bruins’ big-name forward to toast the 6-5 shootout victory over the Bruins (see observations).

After Travis Konecny beat Jaroslav Halak for the shootout advantage in the fifth round, Marchand stunned the 19,246 fans in attendance when he overskated the puck on his attempt to cap off the Flyers’ win (see highlights).

“I was trying to get going and I just missed it,” Marchand said.

A moment like that, featuring a polarizing and accomplished player like Marchand, in a game between rivals like Philly and Boston, will not be forgotten.

Well, at least not for Flyers fans.

What shouldn’t be lost in the hoopla at the finish is the magnitude of this win at this juncture of the season. The Flyers are in the midst of a daunting four-game stretch just past the halfway mark of the schedule, with their NHL-mandated Jan. 22-30 bye week almost here and the Feb. 24 trade deadline on the horizon.

The stretch has put the Flyers up against four of the NHL’s top teams in the Capitals, Lightning, Bruins and Blues.

The team is in a soul-searching phase as the head coach and general manager evaluate what the Flyers might need as the playoff race heightens. The Flyers have depth concerns at forward and adding some scoring punch or experience anywhere within the lineup could bolster the team’s postseason chances.

Facing the league’s best is an ideal barometer for evaluation.

“It is something that we have been looking at, there’s no doubt that it’s evident by the number of people that we’ve tried in that bottom six, in that role,” Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said after Monday’s morning skate. “At the end of the day, that’s one area, but in the big picture, I look at our last game, I really liked our compete level, I really liked our defensive part of the game. We didn’t give a highly skilled team a lot of chances but we need a couple of guys to come up big and get some points for us.

“[Depth is] an area that we’re looking to improve but we need our big boys to come up big for us.”

In their four-game test, the Flyers are 2-1-0 with wins over the Capitals and Bruins, and a loss to the Lightning. They’ve scored eight goals and have allowed eight.

They face the defending champion Blues Wednesday night in St. Louis.

"You’ve got Washington, then you’ve got Tampa and tonight you’ve got Boston,” Vigneault said. “You knew they were going to be three tough games, we had to take those games one at a time, which we did. 

“I liked our game in all three of them, they were all different. The Washington game, coming back home and having to play that night, that was out of the ordinary. Tampa was a tight-checking game from both teams and they got a bounce on their goal. Tonight it was just a little bit more wide open. 

“They’re three different games where I think everybody enjoyed it and now we’ve got to go to St. Louis and find a way to win that road game.”

And continue to find out more about themselves.

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