The season has now entered the final two weeks and the Flyers are still sitting tied with Detroit, even after several chances to pull ahead; most notably on Saturday against the Coyotes, who are in the bottom third of the league standings. The Flyers, down two, had an opportunity late in the third when Martin Hanzal was given a five-minute boarding call for his dirty hit on the Flyer’s captain but the powerplay unit could only find the twine once before the end of regulation. Although shaken up, Claude Giroux cleared concussion protocol and is expected to play in tonight’s game against Winnipeg.
The Flyers are on a four game winning streak against the Jets and have gone 4-0-1 in their last 5 against them. The last time the Jets beat an Eastern Conference team on the road was all the way back to November 4th this season against Toronto and have an 0-6-2 record since. They come into tonight’s game on a hard loss to the Sabres after being up two goals and losing 3-2, officially knocking them out of playoff contention.
For the Flyers this is crunch time. They still have one game up on Detroit who also is in action tonight hosting Buffalo. After the Jets tonight, the Flyers will host the best team in the NHL on Wednesday in the Washington Capitals. Washington has been the best team in the standings for most of the year but that has not hindered the Flyers against them. They have a 1-2-0 record against them but two of those were decided by one goal, one in overtime. If the playoffs started today, this would be the first round match up. To wrap up the home stand the Ottawa Senators come to town, who like the Jets, have also been eliminated from playoff contention. To the Flyers advantage, Ottawa has shut down two top defensemen in Dion Phaneuf and Clarke MacArthur for the remainder of the season. This will be the 8th Saturday matinee for the Orange and Black who have gone 3-2-2 in those games; however, 1-1-3 in their last five, including the miserable performance against Pittsburgh.
The Red Wings will play four games this week including a back to back games tonight and tomorrow. Following Saturday’s games, the Flyers will have two games in hand against Detroit. These teams will still face each other one more time this season in Detroit.
As for the team in the second wild card spot, the Islanders have won their last two games, both coming off of third period comebacks to put them four points ahead of the Flyers. Both teams have eight games remaining which will conclude in New York. The Flyers are 2-1-1 against the Islanders this season.
Author: Tyler Jardine
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