After 2 Wins in Southern California, Are Flyers Out of Water?

The Flyers went out West this week and appeared to have righted the ship with wins in Anaheim and Los Angeles.

It's calmer waters around here right now but have the Flyers turned a corner?

NBC Sports Philadelphia's Tom Dougherty and Jordan Hall debate:

What a difference a few days make. Last weekend, the wheels fell off for the Flyers. Then, they were reassembled in Southern California during the first two legs of a four-game road trip. It's a dose of reality during the reactionary times we live in.

Maybe Dave Hakstol wasn't the team's biggest wart. Maybe firing Hakstol wasn't going to solve all the problems. Maybe a blockbuster move to change things up wasn't the answer.

But we weren't wrong in believing this. A lot of the same issues that have plagued this team the past three seasons resurfaced and you have to look at the one constant.

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That is Hakstol. Realistically speaking, a decision on Hakstol would only have happened had this team gone out West and played the same way it did last Saturday in Philly.

Instead, the Flyers won two games, against a banged-up Ducks team and a bad Kings team. They were two games they should have won, and they did. Credit where credit is due.

Now, they face a real challenge Saturday night in San Jose with revenge on their mind. The Sharks are legit, and the Flyers learned that in their home opener.

The Flyers are far from out of the water, and drastic change remains on the table. Team defense remains leaky. The penalty kill stinks - eight PPGs allowed in the last six games.

Two important wins in SoCal doesn't erase anything. If they compete with the Sharks on Saturday night, then I'll say they're out of the water for now.

This team actually has expectations this season, and it hasn't gotten nearly close to showing us it deserves them. We can all use some patience, most of us have been using it.

That said, I don't believe we were wrong for being dramatic after last Saturday's loss to the Islanders. There were real reasons to consider going nuclear, no matter what history tells us.

Are the Flyers back? No.

Was their season in jeopardy after 11 games? No, that's even sillier.

Front office officials are not like fans. They don't react on emotion or make inflammatory decisions. 

And sports is such a what-have-you-done-for-me-now world. It's why so many live and die on every game. Fans love their team one day, then hate it the next. But they care, they're passionate, and it's great - I totally get it. They're just as important to the whole operation as anyone else. Fans make it go.

But sometimes, it's important to sit back, digest a game and then remember the bigger picture. The Flyers won back-to-back games against stumbling teams out West and suddenly there's some calmness to the storm. That's what a few victories can do.

But you don't see the Flyers acting like they won the Stanley Cup. Hakstol didn't crack a smile once in his postgame interviews. That's because they don't live and die with every game. They value every game, absolutely, but understand a deep breath and a glance at the long view is good.

So Saturday's matchup is important, just like the rest. I wouldn't treat it as this massive measuring stick or challenge, though. Because, really, the Flyers could lose to the Sharks, beat the Coyotes Monday and we'd consider a three-win four-game road trip a success.

And don't forget, a five-game homestand awaits and 36-goal scorer James van Riemsdyk is nearing a return. Maybe that got lost in the day-to-day, hour-by-hour panic.

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