Reviewing the Flyers' season to date, ABC-style:
A is for anniversary year. In their 50th year, the Flyers have had numerous pregame celebrations at the Wells Fargo Center, honoring their past. The present has been pretty good, too. Thanks to a 9-2-1 December, the Flyers (20-12-4) have climbed into an Eastern Conference playoff spot.
B is for back-to-back games. The Flyers have played well in the most grueling part of their schedule, compiling a 12-5-1 record in games played on consecutive nights, including a 6-2-1 in the back end of those contests.
C is for comebacks. Ten times the Flyers overcame at least a two-goal deficit and tied a game or took a lead. They went 5-3-1 in those games. (In one game, they twice overcame a two-goal deficit.)
D is for defense, of course. The Flyers' defense overcame a disappointing first month and showed marked improvement since a 6-3 loss in Toronto on Nov. 10. In addition, the defensemen have accumulated an NHL-best 89 points, including 16 each by Shayne Gostisbehere and Mark Streit.
E is for an elite division. The Metropolitan Division looks like it will send five teams to the playoffs. At one point through Dec. 15, four Metro teams - the Flyers, Penguins, Capitals, and Blue Jackets - had combined for 29 straight wins.
F is for frantic finishes. The Flyers overcame a 3-0 third-period deficit and stunned Buffalo in a shootout, 4-3, on Oct 25.
G is for Claude Giroux. The Flyers' captain had 12 points and a plus-10 rating during their 10-game winning streak. After failing the score a goal in his first eight games this season, Giroux tallied 10 times in his last 28 games.
H is for Dave Hakstol. The second-year coach has done an admirable job steering the Flyers on a 100-point pace. The young players have made major strides under Hakstol, which was the plan when general manager Ron Hextall hired him. In addition, he has gotten the team's attention by benching "name" players (see Gostisbehere and Michael Del Zotto) in an attempt to light a fire. It has worked.
Under Hakstol, the Flyers have been a disciplined team. They have had 24 more power plays than their opponents.
I is for improvement. The Flyers are 4-3 in shootouts, equaling their most shootout wins in a full season. Ever. They began the year with an NHL-worst 33-70 record since shootouts started in 2005.
J is for the Jersey kid, Anthony Stolarz. He became the first New Jersey-born goalie to play in the NHL, and he had a shutout in his second game.
K is for left winger Travis Konecny, whose speed, creativity and passing ability made him a key addition on the second line. He and teammate Ivan Provorov are among the NHL's rookie leaders with 12 assists apiece.
L is for listless starts. The Flyers have been outscored, 32-22, in the opening 20 minutes. They have allowed the first goal in 22 of 36 games.
M is for MVP. From here, Wayne Simmonds has been the team's best player thus far. He is among the NHL leaders with 16 goals and brings a relentless style every night. Simmonds should be selected to his first all-star team, and, fittingly, this season's game is in Los Angeles, where the right winger started his career.
N is for numbers. The Flyers have been among the NHL's highest-scoring teams (2.94 per game), but they need to reduce their goals allowed (2.92 per game) if they are going to concern their top opponents. They are 12-5-3 at home, 8-7-1 on the road.
O is for obscure facts. Boyd Gordon scored the Flyers' first goal of the season, sparking a 4-2 win in Los Angeles on Oct. 14. He has not scored since that game.
P is for the power play. The Flyers' power play (22 percent success rate) has been among the elite all season, but has gone 0 for 15 in the last six games. The penalty kill (82.1 percent) was awful early in the season, but has been excellent in the last six weeks.
Q is for quotes. My favorite is courtesy of left winger Michael Raffl, who in mid-December was referring to his star linemates Giroux and Jake Voracek when he deadpanned: "My back is really sore from carrying G and Jake. It wears me down."
R is for rookies. Four of them - Provorov, Konecny, Roman Lyubimov, and Taylor Leier - have brought energy to the team. And skill.
S is for streaks. The Flyers won 10 straight - equaling the third longest in franchise history - to take a firm hold of a playoff spot. During the streak, the Flyers went from four points out of a wild-card spot to nine points ahead of their closest pursuer.
T is for possible trades. Michal Neuvirth and Streit could be available for draft picks near the March 1 trade deadline. With lots of depth on defense, the Flyers might also dangle Del Zotto for a forward. All three players can become free agents in July.
U is for unusual circumstances. On the day Gostisbehere was named the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association's pro athlete of the year for his brilliant rookie season, the defenseman was benched by Hakstol.
V is for Voracek. The right winger is having a bounce-back season and is among the NHL leaders with 35 points. He led the Flyers with 16 points during their 10-game winning streak.
W is for workhorse. Goalie Steve Mason started 18 of the Flyers' last 20 games. During the winning streak, he was 8-0 with a 2.33 goals-against average and .926 save percentage.
X is for Xerox. As in copy. As in the strong performances by the Flyers in second periods, during which they have outscored opponents, 46-33. Primarily because of outstanding second periods, the Flyers have been tied or ahead in 32 of their 36 third periods thus far.
Y is for yips. Provorov had to have a severe case of them in his third professional game. The defenseman fell down to lead to one Chicago goal and finished minus-5 in a 7-4 loss on Oct 18. In the Dec. 3 rematch, Provorov had two goals and saved a score when a puck got past Mason and was near the goal line, leading the Flyers to a 3-1 win. The 19-year-old has emerged as the Flyers' No. 1 defenseman.
Z is for ZZZZs. The Flyers fell asleep and allowed three goals in a 55-second span in the first period, keying the visiting Penguins' 5-4 victory on Oct. 29. The teams don't meet again until Feb. 25 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.