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Flyers October and Mid-November Recap

So, the month of October was a bit of an interesting one for the Philadelphia Flyers. There were winning and losing streaks, but through it all, the Flyers finished a solid 6-4-1. They finished with the number one goals-for per game, but the third worst goals-against per game. The defense took a major hit when captain Chris Pronger went out with an eye injury after the stick of Mikhail Grabovski of the Toronto Maple Leafs deflected off of Pronger's stick and hit him in the eye.

 The injury sparked many a debate about making visors mandatory. This was not the only injury for the Flyers. 2006 second round pick Andreas Nodl sat out for a few games with a lower-body injury, while the same thing happened to 2007 second overall pick. James van Riemsdyk. Danny Briere and Matt Read sat out with upper-body injuries. Although everyone has returned, the Phantoms that were called up made for more than interesting hockey. Ben Holmstrom, Harry Zolniercyzk, Eric Wellwood were just emergency callups while the organization dealt with the minor injuries. Erik Gustafsson and Zac Rinaldo have stayed up with the Flyers after time in Adirondack. Sean Couturier is here to stay with the Flyers after his ten game tryout with the big club. The decision may have been make easier when Brayden Schenn went down with a broken foot after blocking a P.K. Subban slap shot when the Flyers faced the Montreal Canadiens.

On Wednesday, November 9, the Flyers played the Tampa Bay Lightning. It was a snore inducing game as the Flyers sat back in their own defensive zone waiting for the Lightning to break their 1-3-1 trap. Lightning coach Guy Boucher refused to let his team break their system which led to almost a whole minute of the game at a time spent by the Flyers trying to breakout of their defensive zone. This game led to a public ripping of Boucher's trap system, but some of the blame must be placed on the Flyers. I'm not going to get in to the debate too much, but some of the blame has to be placed on the Flyers to try to break the system.

2006 first round pick Claude Giroux and 1990 fifth overall pick Jaromir Jagr have found chemistry and when the Flyers stuck forward Scott Hartnell, the man best known for #HartnellDown which tracks how many times he falls on Twitter, it immediately reviatlized him. Giroux and Jagr were a match made in heaven, and that became evident in the preseason, but Hartnell was added on to the line when coach Peter Laviolette decided to shake up the lines when Brayden Schenn was called up. Laviolette can pat himself on the back because this line has become, arguably, the best line in hockey. Giroux can throw his hat into the scoring title ring if this line keeps up it's scoring and Jagr has looked like a bargain at 3.3 million, playing solid two-way hockey and producing at a point-per-game pace.

51 million dollar man, Ilya Bryzgalov, struggled after the first three games and his stats have plummeted because of it. He stated that he "sucked" after a 9-8 loss against the Winnipeg Jets, but followed it up with a 5-1 win against the struggling Carolina Hurricanes. He was "out of the woods" which was a good thing because the Philadelphia fans and media were ready to pounce on his bad numbers after he signed his lucrative contract this summer. His backup, Sergei Bobrovsky, has played solidly behind him which just helped spark the anger toward Bryzgalov, but when a team has two goaltenders playing very solid hockey, it makes them scary to rest of the league.

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