Flyers weekly observations: No goals but positives, Connor Bunnaman returns, Claude Giroux's birthday

Jordan Hall
NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Flyers went 1-1-1 over the past week and entered Sunday holding the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot via tiebreaker.

After a 1-4-1 road trip, the Flyers are hoping some home cooking can push them back into a more comfortable position within the playoff race. Before their NHL-mandated bye week from Jan. 22-30, the Flyers play four of five games at the Wells Fargo Center, where they've performed significantly better compared to on the road.

Let's get into some weekly observations:

• As frustrating as it is to be shut out, the Flyers can take a lot positives away from Saturday night's 1-0 loss to the Lightning.

That Tampa Bay team was scoring 4.67 goals per game over its nine-game winning streak coming into Philadelphia and the Flyers held it to one flukey goal.

Last season, the Flyers allowed 5.67 goals per game to the Lightning in three matchups (all losses). Holding the Capitals and Lightning to a combined three goals and 0 for 9 on the power play in back-to-back games is nothing to fret about.

The Flyers have had issues with consistently producing on the offensive side, but that's the defensive response the Flyers needed after allowing 28 goals (15 in the first period) on the six-game road swing.

• The Flyers recalled forward Connor Bunnaman from AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley on Sunday and loaned winger David Kase to the Phantoms.

The move has a lot to do with the Flyers' play down the middle. The team wants to play Scott Laughton on the wing, where he's been more effective in greater minutes.

Near the end of the preseason, general manager Chuck Fletcher was high on Bunnaman's ability to play fourth-line center. The 6-foot-3, 214-pounder will get his shot to give the Flyers better flexibility within their lineup.

But if Morgan Frost starts putting up points with the Phantoms, he won't be far away from giving the Flyers another offensive jolt (and more balance) down the middle. The Flyers needed the 20-year-old playmaker back in November and might need him again soon.

Claude Giroux turned 32 years old on Sunday.

Among the Flyers' all-time franchise leaders, the captain is second in assists (544), third in games played (865), fourth in points (793) and 10th in goals (249).

Since the 2011-12 season, Giroux is third among active NHL players in points (643), behind only Patrick Kane (692) and Sidney Crosby (661).

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Flyers weekly observations: No goals but positives, Connor Bunnaman returns, Claude Giroux's birthday originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

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