Claude Giroux and the Philadelphia Flyers couldn’t buy a win earlier in the season. Now they’re taking two out of three contests on a California road trip. Due to the proximity of the Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks, teams usually visit the three squads in succession.
When the Kings, Sharks and Ducks weren’t very good, it was an easy four or six points. Not these days though. All three of these teams represent the best of what the NHL has to offer. Visiting squads use the “Western swing” as a barometer—a way to see how they stack up in tough road contests.
The Flyers are coming off of their road trip out west, and they’re reportedly happy with the 2-1 record they posted in California. After taking a 5-2 loss to the top team in the league in the Ducks to open the set of three games, Philadelphia downed the Kings and Sharks to secure four of a possible six points.
For a team like Philadelphia that is fighting tooth and nail for a playoff position, every single point counts. Hence the general good mood surrounding the swing.
Wayne Simmonds spoke to Tim Panaccio of CSNPhilly.com about the road trip and had this to say:
Someone referred to it as the Bermuda Triangle coming into California. But I think we played pretty well. We had a high compete level all three games. Four points out of six is pretty nice… We’re fighting for our playoff lives right now. We need every single point, I keep saying it. Every guy in this room is aware of what we have to do. We played pretty well this road trip.
Giroux shared his teammate’s sentiment when speaking to Panaccio:
We won more battles, we were competitive, it was like we wanted [the game] more. We played the last two games against good teams. When you struggle and play good teams, that is when you get your confidence back. You have a good period, you start playing better, and we had two big wins against San Jose and L.A. and go back home here with more confidence than when we [began] the road trip.
Despite the victories, Philadelphia is still tied with the Columbus Blue Jackets for the final seed in the Metropolitan Division, where it’s still a wide open race.
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