The St. Louis Blues and Philadelphia Flyers were tied at the hip when they came into the league. Though their paths have separated since, the two teams still have some rough and tumble games.
The St. Louis Blues and Philadelphia Flyers were both founded at the same time. They both entered the league in 1967 and had success not long after.
For the Blues, it was immediate. They picked up several former Montreal Canadiens and beat up on the Flyers on their way to the Stanley Cup Finals three times in a row.
The Blues hard-nosed style forced the Flyers to answer. Answer they did, with several Hall of Fame players and two championships in the 70’s.
The Blackhawks and Red Wings have always been the Blues chief rivals because of proximity and the number of games against. However, for a time, Philadelphia could be counted in their due to the blood baths between the two sides.
As free agency took hold, the league grew and the number of games against dwindled, the “rivalry” cooled off. The two still have some tough games though.
Philadelphia is coming off a playoff season, but they lost in the first round. They have alternated first round losses and missing the playoffs the last four seasons.
The Flyers coaching situation has been a bit of a mess as well. They had Peter Laviolette and let him go – he has gone on to be a success with Nashville.
They then turned to Craig Berube – now the Chicago Wolves head man – and he only lasted two seasons. Dave Hakstol is now the man in charge. The question is how short his leash will be even coming off a playoff year.
The Flyers were about as quiet in free agency as you could be. For a team that only squeaked into the playoffs, they relying on a lot of repeat performances from 2015-16.
The only real addition to the team is Dale Weise. Weise is little more than a journeyman player who will be on his fifth team at only 27.
Weise isn’t a bad player. He’s averaged in the mid-20’s as far as point production over the last three seasons.
He is not the kind of player that fans in Philly are going to get excited over. He’s not going to be the missing piece to their puzzle if they expect to take the next step either. Weise proved that with only one assist for Chicago after being acquired at the deadline.
Philadelphia did not have any major losses in free agency or via trades. So, their main goal transitioning from one step to the next is stability.
They accomplished that. Nobody left and Weise is coming in.
Flyers GM Ron Hextall continues to load up through the draft. The only problem with that is you are not guaranteed to be around when the payoff comes – if it comes.
The Flyers don’t have any picks from the last two drafts that are likely to bust through quite yet. You may see a name here or there, but nobody is likely to gain significant playing time.
As previously stated, Philly is relying on the players they had and hoping for no dropoff. If anything, they have their fingers crossed for some rebound years from someone like Jakub Voracek.
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Like the Blues of the past 10 years or so, the Flyers have a pretty good goaltending duo. Neither one is yet a stud by themselves, but they play well with each other.
The Flyers allowed more goals than they scored last year and that cannot continue as other teams have made improvements.
The outlook as of right now is they will continue their current trend and miss the playoffs a season after making it.
Philadelphia has some talent, but there are a lot of things they are hoping go right instead of making sure they did in the summer.
Despite the Blues recent success in the regular season, the Flyers remain a team they cannot turn things around against.
The Blues have had the occasional season split or even won the lone game when that was the case. However the Flyers hold a commanding lead in the clubs’ history.
Philadelphia is up 51-90-17 in the total record. They have kept their home ice as an almost impenetrable fortress too.
St. Louis has only won in Philadelphia two times since the turn of the century.
The Blues will have an opportunity to change that on national television. Like the Bruins, both matchups with Philly will be on NBCSN.
The home game will be Wednesday, December 28. The game in the city of brotherly love will take place Monday, February 6.
The away game will be the start of a lengthy eastern road trip. What better way to start it than with the first win in Philly since 2012?
Even though the Blues are better on paper, the games will likely split. St. Louis had the better team last year and lost both, 4-2 and 4-3.
The team’s fans are all young enough now to not care much about each other. There will always be a little bit of bad blood though and the Blues need to get their fill.
Hopefully St. Louis can get that road trip off to a bang start with a win and also protect their home ice better than they did last season.