The Philadelphia Flyers are in last place in the NHL with a 1-7-0 record. The team has scored 11 goals in eight games, good for fewest per game in the league. There isn't a lot of positivity around this team, which has already seen a coach fired and stars struggling mightily.
One such star is captain Claude Giroux, who has yet to score a goal in this campaign. Though the Flyers are down, they're not beaten according to Giroux who backed up that confidence with a prediction.
“We'll take it here game-by-game and we will make the playoffs,” Grioux proclaimed.
As Giroux explained to reporters (via Flyers.com):
“When you have the record we have right now, you're a little frustrated and you try to figure out what's going on but everybody came to the rink and we know there's a lot of hockey left to play here. We're not far at all. How many points are we off, six? To think that with the start we had, we're that close. We've never thought that we're not going to make the playoffs.”
The fact that the Flyers are competing in the tire fire that is the Metropolitan Division, the chances of recovery aren't farfetched. That said, the Flyers' early-season struggles have dug a hole that would be difficult for any team to come out of.
How difficult? This little nugget from Elliotte Friedman's 30 Thoughts column is a pretty good indication:
From 2005-06 through 2011-12, just three of 32 teams who were four points out of a playoff position on November 1 recovered to make it. (via Puck Daddy)
Three. Not great odds for Giroux and the boys.
The Flyers' goaltending situation, with the way Steve Mason has been playing, is better than expected. It's that sputtering offense that really needs to get going and fast. Brayden Schenn is leading the team with five points. Tye McGinn, who has played in just three games, is leading the team with three goals.
Meanwhile, typical offensive leaders Giroux and Jakub Voracek are looking at big ol' goose eggs under the G column. Injuries to Vincent Lecavalier and Scott Hartnell certainly don't help the team's cause either.
Giroux is right that the team can turn things around, but it has to start sooner than later. Even in an 82-game season, a dreadful start like the one Philadelphia is enduring now can be fatal. If Giroux wants to make good on his guarantee, he better start finding a way to put the puck in the net.