They won their first playoff series since 2012 and took a tough Islanders to seven games in the second round.
Is that enough of an accomplishment to take pride in and speculate on a bright future?
Well, it’s a little early to analyze where the Flyers go from here but at least they can take comfort in knowing they took a step in the right direction during the 2019-20 season.
After all, they did win the round robin tournament to secure the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference going into the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Goaltender Carter Hart showed he’s the real deal. Kevin Hayes played well enough to be considered captain’s material somewhere down the road. Ivan Provorov continues to make strides as one of the NHL’s most promising young defensemen.
But there are still some question marks after Saturday night’s season-ending 4-0 loss to the Islanders at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.
The Flyers’ power play, which went a big zero in 13 tries against the Islanders (and a measly four for 52 for the playoffs) still has a lot of work to do.
Travis Konecny, the team’s regular-season goal-scoring leader, did not have a goal for the entire playoffs and he’s sure to hear about that in the offseason.
And the Flyers’ core leaders, such as captain Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek, will continue to come under scrutiny. They still have multi-years to go on contracts of more than $8 million per season. How much more patience will ownership show in them?
Giroux believes the Flyers still have promise with the current group as it’s constituted.
“Right now it’s very frustrating,’’ he said. “We like our team. We like the pieces. Frustration is high right now. We’re going in the right direction. It’s one game. We win this game, and we’re in the conference finals. We have to learn from this and move forward.’’
Coach Alain Vigneault will be speaking about the team’s potential in the days ahead but wasn’t of a mind to discuss it on Saturday night.
“At this time, I’m not in the mindset to analyze our season,’’ he said. “We just played Game 7. We were one win away from going to the final four. My disappointment now is at a very high end.’’
Sean Couturier said: “Every year is a new year, so it doesn’t matter what we did this year. We’re all going to start back to zero. It’s to do all over again next year. I don’t know if you can take positives or negatives (from this season). Just have to go home, recharge the mind and get ready for next year, I guess. Right now it’s too early to take any positives from this.’’
>Couturier gives it a good try
Couturier suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament in his knee in Game 5, missed Game 6, then gave it a shot in Game 7.
Vigneault probably wouldn’t have used him in a less important situation but this was all hands on deck.
“Injuries are part of the game, you have to play through it,’’ Vigneault said. “You have to find a way to play well. That’s the way it is.’’
Couturier wasn’t going to miss this game for pretty much anything.
“Tonight I felt good enough to go,’’ Couturier said. “It’s the same injury I had two years ago (against Pittsburgh in the playoffs). Too bad I couldn’t go Game 6 but I thought I could help the team tonight and give it a go.’’
>Lindblom battles to the end
After making an inspirational comeback in Game 6 and playing 17.5 minutes over 25 shifts, Oskar Lindblom was back on the ice for Game 7.
He worked nine months to get here so, like Couturier, he wasn’t going to sit out.
“I mean I just wanted to help the team win games,’’ he said. “Doesn’t matter if I play or someone else plays. If I help the team win games, I’m happy. But we didn’t do that today so it doesn’t really matter. We have to get back on track and start a new season.’’
Couturier expressed pride in Lindblom’s comeback.
“It’s a great story, it’s inspiration,’’ he said. “He battled hard. I’m sure even though we didn’t get the results, he enjoyed being back with us. It was nice having him back, for sure.’’
>Power play woes a mystery
What happened to the Flyers’ power play? It was ranked 14th out of 31 NHL teams during the regular season, then laid a big egg in the playoffs.
“If I knew (the answer), I would have pointed it out,’’ Couturier said. “I don’t really know.’’