Each Friday throughout the season Kevin Weekes will bring you his Friday Four. The former goalie and current NHL Network analyst will be blogging about four players, teams, plays, or trends that have caught his eye.
The Flyers are 12-5-1 in their past 18 games and have climbed into third place in the Metropolitan Division. During this stretch, they haven't lost consecutive games, which is huge since one loss has had the habit of snowballing into a losing streak for them in recent seasons and earlier this season.
One of the biggest reasons for the surge in the standings has been the play of captain Claude Giroux. He has 12 points (four goals, eight assists) during a seven-game point streak. Travis Konecny, who is tied for the team lead in scoring with 54 points, has 10 (four goals, six assists) in his past seven games.
The goaltending and the defense have been better; Philadelphia has allowed two goals or fewer in seven of their past 13 games. If they can continue to play the way they have and get some more offensive contributions, it wouldn't be surprising to see them qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs and be disrupters.
Video: PHI@CBJ: Konecny uses skate to net redirection
St. Louis Blues
The Blues have had two straight shutout victories since winning two of 12 games (2-7-3). In those games (3-0 against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday, 1-0 against the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday), the Blues allowed a total of 31 shots on goal. St. Louis faces a tough test when it visits the Dallas Stars on Friday (8:30 p.m. ET; ESPN+, FS-SW+, FS-MW, NHL.TV). The Blues, Stars and Colorado Avalanche are in a three-team race for first place in the Central Division.
The acquisition of defenseman Marco Scandella should help offset the loss of Jay Bouwmeester who has been out since a cardiac episode Feb. 11. There's also a chance forward Vladimir Tarasenko, out since Oct. 24 because of a shoulder injury, could return soon. Having him back in the lineup would be a huge boost.
Vegas Golden Knights
The Golden Knights have won four straight games, all at home, against some good teams. They ended the Tampa Bay Lightning's 11-game winning streak on Thursday and also defeated the Blues, New York Islanders and Washington Capitals during the homestand. After a bumpy start, Vegas is back in first place in the Pacific Division.
Defenseman Alec Martinez, who was acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Kings earlier this week, made an immediate impact in his first game; he scored a goal and had an assist in Vegas' 5-3 win against the Lightning. Martinez is a winner; he's a two-time Stanley Cup champion who scored the Cup-winning goal in double overtime against the New York Rangers in 2014. That's the type of player you want on your team, especially at this time of year.
Video: TBL@VGK: Martinez scores in 1st period
Los Angeles Kings
The Kings are clearly in a rebuilding mode and it's been tough to see. Martinez and forward Tyler Toffoli have already been traded and there likely will be more trades coming as we near the NHL Trade Deadline on Monday (3 p.m. ET). The good news is the Kings have one of the best prospect pools in hockey; a lot of that has to do with the job that general manager Rob Blake, assistant GM Mike Futa and the scouting staff have done.
Gabriel Vilardi had a goal and an assist in a 5-4 win against the Florida Panthers on Thursday in his NHL debut. The first-round pick (No. 11) in the 2017 NHL Draft is expected to be a core player for them for the next decade. Guys like Alex Iafallo, Adrian Kempe and Blake Lizotte are also among the new young core that has gone through some growing pains this season, but I think Los Angeles is in good hands with these players.