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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 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
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10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 82 22 59 1 81
C. Giroux 81 25 48 -3 73
M. Streit 81 9 43 -8 52
W. Simmonds 75 28 22 -5 50
B. Schenn 82 18 29 -5 47
S. Couturier 82 15 22 4 37
M. Del Zotto 64 10 22 -5 32
M. Read 80 8 22 -4 30
M. Raffl 67 21 7 6 28
V. Lecavalier 57 8 12 -7 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 18 18 11 .928 2.25
R. Emery 10 11 7 .894 3.06
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