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POST GAME THOUGHTS: BLUES 1, FLYERS 0 (SO)

Tuesday, 04.01.2014 / 11:41 PM
By Anthony SanFilippo - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter / Flyers Inside Out
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Flyers Inside Out
POST GAME THOUGHTS: BLUES 1, FLYERS 0 (SO)

Dear NHL,

I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but it needs to be reiterated – the shootout is terrible.

Coaches hate it. Players hate it – both shooters and goalies. And either the voices on social media are a 140-character wielding vocal minority, or they are indicative of NHL fans. And if it’s the latter, they hate it too.

Sure it probably sounds like sour grapes, especially appearing on a website of a team that just lost in the shootout for the second game in a row and for the seventh time in 10 tries this year and for a team that has never had a winning record in the shootout.

And it’s fair of you to think that.

But, more than anything, it was a deflating result to two superb hockey games this week.

Try to tell me fans wouldn’t rather see five more minutes of action between the Flyers and Bruins. Try to tell me a 0-0 hockey game through 65 minutes deserves to be determined by a skills competition.

And seriously, don’t you think some teams play for the shootout once a game reaches a certain point because they like their odds in a breakaway competition more than the other guy?

Never mind the extra point that suddenly gets attached to games and the standings logjam it creates, especially with teams who don’t deserve to be in the competition for a playoff spot.

What you’re getting is hard-fought games between elite teams – and by now, if you still haven’t recognized the Flyers as an elite team, then you never will – battling for playoff position, home ice, and the best record in the league.

I mean here are the Flyers showing you they can play any which way a game can go.

For the first time in franchise history, they played consecutive games against two 50-win teams. And while the Flyers didn’t win either, they took both teams to the brink, only to lose in this ridiculous post game exhibition.

First it was the 4-3 loss to Boston that was played at an amazing physical pace (87 combined hits) in which the Flyers got 52 shots on goal in 65 minutes.

This was followed by a 1-0 loss to St. Louis in which defense and goaltending ruled the day – which was even more impressive for Flyers fans since it was a defense without it’s stalwart leader Kimmo Timonen who was sidelined with an upper body injury, and goaltending by the backup Ray Emery, who, despite the loss, is credited with his 16th career shutout.

You want to play physical hockey? The Flyers are ready. You want to play a game with wide open offense and lots of shots? The Flyers are ready. You want to play a lock-it-down, ugly, defense-oriented game? The Flyers are ready.

That’s what really needs to be taken from two consecutive shootout losses. Not the fact that they lost those games. They did that in name only.

Instead, they took the best shots from the two best teams in the sport and played them evenly.

And now, they are 6-2-2 in the past 10 games, part of a 12-game stretch that was supposed to be treacherous.

That hurdle has already bean leapt over.

Now, the magic number for clinching a playoff spot is down to six points – either earned by the Flyers or lost by Washington. It would take an epic collapse to not get in at this point –and with the way this team is playing, that’s not going to happen. So book that.

The next task is getting home ice advantage, if possible, against New York. That will be a little tougher for sure, but it’s still within their control. Win the extra two games against Buffalo and Carolina at Wells Fargo Center and play even with the Rangers in the other five games, and it’s done.

Then, start the playoff journey.

It’s a path these Flyers are prepared to take. They’ve been playing playoff hockey for months now. And the fact that they are playing the way they are against the best the league has to offer, you have to feel confident don’t you?

If you’re not, I blame the shootout. Because if these games were ties, or wins with further overtime being played, and not losses, you’d almost certainly feel that much different.

Thanks for listening.

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

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 76 47 21 8 200 169 102
2 x - NYR 74 47 20 7 226 172 101
3 TBL 76 46 23 7 244 198 99
4 PIT 75 41 23 11 207 188 93
5 NYI 76 44 27 5 230 211 93
6 DET 74 40 22 12 216 201 92
7 WSH 75 40 25 10 218 186 90
8 BOS 75 37 25 13 199 195 87
9 OTT 74 37 25 12 216 199 86
10 FLA 75 34 26 15 186 205 83
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 75 31 32 12 167 192 74
14 CAR 74 28 36 10 173 202 66
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 75 20 47 8 144 254 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 76 21 55 7 76
C. Giroux 75 23 46 2 69
W. Simmonds 75 28 22 -5 50
M. Streit 75 9 36 -10 45
B. Schenn 76 14 25 -7 39
S. Couturier 76 13 17 1 30
M. Del Zotto 58 9 20 -5 29
M. Read 74 7 22 -7 29
M. Raffl 61 20 6 7 26
V. Lecavalier 52 7 11 -10 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 15 17 11 .927 2.24
R. Emery 10 10 6 .892 3.15
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