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By the Pale Moonlight

Flyers have to dance with the Devils... twice... to be back in playoff contention

Tuesday, 03.12.2013 / 3:08 PM ET / News
By Anthony SanFilippo  - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter
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By the Pale Moonlight

VOORHEES, N.J. – In case there was any doubt that these Flyers aren’t aware enough of the position they are in as they stand on the precipice of a home-and-home series with New Jersey, Iyla Bryzgalov pretty much confirmed their recognition.

“If you check the standings [the Devils] are four points ahead of us and have one game in hand,” Bryzgalov said. “If you win both games, you’re tied with them and you have a good chance to continue to battle for the playoffs. If you lose both games, you’re done. You’re done. That’s it.

“This is it. This is probably the reality. You’re going to be eight points behind with … not many games left to catch up. It’s going to be very difficult. It wouldn’t depend on you but it would depend on how the other teams do. That’s how important these games are.”

Two games with the season on the line against the hated Devils. In a lot of ways, it’s like bonus playoff hockey… in March.

“We’re facing a team that’s four points ahead of us and a lot of teams have games in hand, so yeah, it’s a huge two games for us,” Danny Briere said. “We said that last week about the three games and we went 0-for-3. We’re putting ourselves in a tougher position every week. If we would have done well last week we would have probably said we would be happy with a split [of these two games]. But we won’t be happy with a split at this time. We need to win both games.”

Coach Peter Laviolette agrees too, but he doesn’t want his team to get ahead of itself.

“We have to start with one,” he said. “I don’t like to coach two games [at once]. You can’t play both. You can only play one. Bryz has a valid point because it’s a big week because the Devils are a team we need to be successful against. Not only would it help us to climb out of the hole we are in, but it will also help us catch the teams directly in front of us.

“He has a valid point, but we will shift our focus to the one game in New Jersey [tomorrow] and then reload when we get back home [Friday].”

And the Flyers will have no excuses any longer. Everyone is healthy and well-rested. The schedule has lightened considerably as the Flyers are in the midst of a schedule that has just three games in a span of 13 days.

That’s a lot of time off. Which means that the magnitude of each of the three games is even more paramount than usual.

Because, when this quirk in the schedule is over, the Flyers will resume play with another war in Pittsburgh followed by a five-game homestand that includes games against the New York Rangers, Boston, and Eastern Conference –leading Montreal.

Those six games happen in a span of 10 days and lead right up to the April 3 trade deadline.

So the Flyers need to know where they stand heading into that 10-day stretch, and how they play against the Devils this week, and next Monday in Tampa will go a long way in letting them know.

Each game will have a sense of do or die for the Flyers and will present different challenges.

“Whatever you call it we need to win the games,” Bryzgalov said. “That’s it. We need to win. That’s the challenge.”

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




1 WSH 49 36 9 4 161 110 76
2 FLA 51 31 15 5 141 112 67
3 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
4 NYR 51 28 18 5 146 132 61
5 BOS 51 27 18 6 149 136 60
6 NYI 49 26 17 6 134 121 58
7 DET 51 25 18 8 125 130 58
8 NJD 52 26 20 6 117 118 58
9 PIT 50 25 18 7 129 128 57
10 CAR 53 24 21 8 129 141 56
11 PHI 49 23 18 8 117 128 54
12 MTL 52 24 24 4 137 141 52
13 OTT 52 23 23 6 142 164 52
14 TOR 50 19 22 9 116 134 47
15 BUF 52 21 26 5 119 137 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47


C. Giroux 49 16 27 -3 43
J. Voracek 49 8 33 3 41
W. Simmonds 49 18 16 -4 34
B. Schenn 47 14 15 -1 29
S. Couturier 40 9 15 9 24
S. Gostisbehere 31 8 16 4 24
M. Read 48 9 9 -5 18
S. Laughton 49 4 10 -6 14
M. Raffl 49 6 6 4 12
M. Del Zotto 47 3 9 -8 12
S. Mason 12 12 6 .916 2.71
M. Neuvirth 11 6 2 .933 2.14
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