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Six Days Later... Nothing's changed

The Flyers are still in the thick of the playoff race despite a five-day break
Sunday, 03.24.2013 / 2:09 PM ET
By Anthony SanFilippo - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter / Flyers Inside Out
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Flyers Inside Out
Six Days Later... Nothing\'s changed

PITTSBURGH – When the Flyers last played in a game six days ago – a 4-2 loss to Tampa Bay – there was an air of disappointment that clouded the team as they walked out of the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

And why not? They were headed into a rare five-day layoff as the team who had played the most games in the NHL and were five points out of a playoff spot.

While they were going to be idle, the Flyers were going to watch as 17 games were played involving teams with whom they were chasing the playoffs.

It seemed all but certain that the chasm between the Flyers and the playoffs would grow in those five days.

And yet, Wednesday came, and it was still five points. Thursday passed, and it was still five. It was five after Friday too.

Certainly with a full slate of games Saturday it would change, right?

Nope.

And now, there are no teams who have games-in-hand on the Flyers, instead, it’s the other way around in some cases.

And now, if things break right tonight, and the Flyers are able to snap the Pittsburgh Penguins 11-game winning streak, the Flyers can close to within three points of a playoff spot with 17 to play.

And now, unlike last week in Tampa, the Flyers have some optimism.

“Having a week off, we were expecting the worst to happen,” Matt Read said. “But, you never know what’s going to happen [in hockey]. Luck favored us in the last week. The teams we needed to win or lose [did]. Things kind of went our way.”

The Flyers actually got so lucky, that they now control their own destiny in their pursuit of the playoffs.

Half of their remaining games will come against the teams they have a realistic chance to catch in the standings.

“It’s up to us now to put ourselves in a better position than where we are today moving forward,” coach Peter Laviolette said. If we’re going to climb we have to make sure we do our work. It’s good that we got a little bit of help, but we have to win some hockey games.”

Last week it was thought the Flyers would have to win 14-of-18 to get themselves in position to make the playoffs, but after getting the help that they got, they may not have to win so many.

Now, something like 11-6-1 could do it – if they get most of those 11 wins in those nine games.

“The bottom line is we have to start winning games,” Kimmo Timonen said. “What other teams are doing, that’s not our business. We look at the standings obviously and everything is still possible, but we have to win our games to get there.”

………………………………………………………

Danny Briere hurt himself in practice Saturday and will be out of the lineup tonight in Pittsburgh with an upper body injury.

General manager Paul Holmgren said Briere’s injury wasn’t serious and that he was day-to-day.

Briere won’t be the only player missing from this big game though as the Penguins announced that neither Evgeni Malkin nor Kris Letang would be in the lineup for Pittsburgh.

To contact Anthony SanFilippo, email asanfilippo@comcast-spectacor.com or follow him on Twitter @AnthonySan37

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - NYR 76 48 21 7 231 179 103
2 x - MTL 77 47 22 8 203 174 102
3 x - TBL 78 47 24 7 250 204 101
4 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
5 PIT 77 42 24 11 211 194 95
6 WSH 77 42 25 10 227 190 94
7 DET 76 40 23 13 221 208 93
8 BOS 77 39 25 13 204 198 91
9 OTT 76 38 26 12 220 204 88
10 FLA 77 35 27 15 192 210 85
11 PHI 77 31 29 17 202 220 79
12 CBJ 76 37 35 4 210 234 78
13 NJD 77 31 33 13 170 197 75
14 CAR 76 28 37 11 176 208 67
15 TOR 78 29 43 6 204 249 64
16 BUF 77 22 47 8 152 258 52

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 77 21 56 7 77
C. Giroux 76 23 46 2 69
W. Simmonds 75 28 22 -5 50
M. Streit 76 9 37 -9 46
B. Schenn 77 16 25 -6 41
S. Couturier 77 13 18 2 31
M. Del Zotto 59 9 20 -6 29
M. Read 75 7 22 -6 29
M. Raffl 62 20 6 8 26
V. Lecavalier 53 8 11 -8 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 16 17 11 .928 2.22
R. Emery 10 10 6 .892 3.15
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