Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Success in March good omen

The Flyers have gone on to the Stanley Cup final three out of the last four times they posted at least 11 wins in the month of March.

Success in March good omen

The Flyers are 11-3-1 in the month of March. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
The Flyers are 11-3-1 in the month of March. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

TORONTO -- With their silky-smooth victory over the Maple Leafs, err Laughs, the Flyers pushed their impressive record in the month of March to 11-3-1.

That’s a good omen for playoff success.

Overall, it’s just the 12th instance the Flyers have ever posted 11 or more wins in any month (out of 308 months over 44 seasons), but it’s just the 5th time they’ve done it in March.

They’ve rolled to the Stanley Cup finals in 3 out of the previous 4 times:

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1973-74: 12-1-2 in March (April: 3-1-0) - Won Stanley Cup
1974-75: 13-1-1 in March (April: 2-0-1) - Won Stanley Cup
1978-79: 11-4-2 in March (April: 2-2-0) - Lost in Quarterfinal to N.Y. Rangers
1984-85: 13-3-0 in March (April: 3-0-0) - Lost in Stanley Cup Final to Edmonton

The Flyers still have one game left in March, hosting Ottawa on Saturday, before the calendar flips to April on Sunday with a game in Pittsburgh.

Even the Penguins, with their recent hot streak, don’t have as many wins as the Flyers in March. They are 10-3-1 in March. Pittsburgh has followed up their 13-0-1 streak with a 1-3-0 run after back-to-back losses to the Islanders.

That’s why home-ice advantage in the first round is up for grabs again with the Flyers.

ROOKS ROLLIN': It’s no secret that the Flyers’ rookies have been a huge part of their success this season. Even so, the numbers can be a bit staggering.

The Flyers’ rookies have accounted for 59 goals and 57 assists this year, a total of 116 points. Their 116 points by rookies lead the NHL and the 57 assists account for 24.1 percent of their scoring output (259).

Matt Read reclaimed the rookie scoring lead with his 23rd goal of the season on Thursday, the most by any Flyers rookie since Jeff Carter in 2005-06.

CHIRP, CHIRP: Here’s a stat you don’t see very often. Zac Rinaldo (13:18) played more minutes than Claude Giroux (13:08). Rinaldo is from nearby Mississauga.

Rinaldo (@RinaldoZac) made sure to let Giroux (@28CGiroux) know about it on Twitter after the game:

“Had more ice time tonight than @28CGiroux. #nobigdeal #takeaseat great effort by everyone tonight huge two points”

Speaking of Twitter, Giroux was shamelessly stumping for votes in the contest to be EA Sports' NHL '13 cover boy. You can vote for only one of the Flyers' gingers at EASports.com/NHL.

LEAFING STOCK: With their 7-1 shellacking of the Leafs, the Flyers completed their first-ever four-game season series sweep of Toronto. They once went 4-0-1 against Toronto back in 1973-74. The Flyers have also swept two and three-game series with the Leafs.

Toronto will be watching the playoffs for a franchise record 7th straight season since the 2005 NHL lockout, as many call for general manager Brian Burke's head. Thursday was Toronto's 11th straight loss at Air Canada Centre, where they haven't won since Feb. 6.

"There's not a lot we can say," said Leafs coach Randy Carlyle, who is 4-8-2 since taking over for Ron Wilson. "We've said everything we can say. You're really looking to the inner self of the individuals to say 'Hey, how can we continue to allow this to happen?' "

T.G.I.F: The Flyers will take their annual team photo on Friday at the Wells Fargo Center, where they are also hoping Ilya Bryzgalov will be able to return to practice.

For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers

About this blog
Frequent Flyers is your home for news and analysis of all things orange and black. Reach Frank at seravaf@phillynews.com.

Frank Seravalli Daily News Sports Columnist
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