Flyers fight to the finish

The Philadelphia Flyers finish their season with a home-and-home series against the New York Rangers. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Philadelphia Flyers finish their season with a home-and-home series against the New York Rangers. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

With the NHL regular season set to end Sunday, April 11, the Philadelphia Flyers find themselves on the bubble, sitting precariously in eighth place.

If the Flyers can manage to elevate their game to the level they played before the Olympic break, they have the chance to sweep the remaining three games and end the season with 90 points. And if that were to happen, the Flyers would ensure themselves a date in the postseason.

However, as fans know all too well, the Flyers team of 2009-10 is full of inconsistency. They have the ability to come out and dominate a team full of superstars or a Hall of Fame goaltender, but then come out the next game against a team in last place with a backup goaltender and lose big.

The remaining opponents for the Flyers are the Toronto Maple Leafs and a home-and-home series against the New York Rangers.

The Flyers hold the upper-hand against Toronto, winning 2-of-3 games so far, but what they have to realize is that since Toronto has been eliminated from the playoffs, they are playing the role of spoiler very well. Since the Olympic break, they have gone 10-5-3, which is second best in the Eastern Conference, behind only the Capitals, who have gone 10-2-4.

Then it will come down to the final two games against the divisional foe. The Rangers and Flyers have both won two games against each other and both are desperately fighting for a spot. The Rangers are currently on the outside looking in, but are only two points behind the Flyers with a game in hand.

If the Flyers lose to Toronto and the Rangers beat their next two opponents (Buffalo and Toronto), the Flyers will have to take both games, or else they will fall out of the playoffs and miss by only two points.

And then, of course, there’s always the Atlanta Thrashers lurking closely behind, but for them, they face the hardest road to finish the season out of all the playoff contenders in the East. They close out the season with games against the Devils, Capitals and Penguins, all three combining for a .600 winning percentage.

As it stands, the Flyers need six points, or a combination of losses from the Rangers that total six points, will give the Flyers a spot in the playoffs. If they win in Toronto and the Rangers lose to Buffalo (the Sabres have won 2-of-3 this season), then the magic number is reduced to just two points.

One thing is for sure: the Flyers need to step up and take these valuable two points from Toronto. They can’t afford to let anymore points slip away, or their postseason dreams may slip away with it.


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Categories: Ice Hockey, NHL, Sports

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