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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 50 37 9 4 163 112 78
2 FLA 52 31 15 6 143 115 68
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
7 PIT 51 26 18 7 132 130 59
8 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
9 NYI 50 26 18 6 135 126 58
10 CAR 53 24 21 8 129 141 56
11 PHI 50 23 18 9 119 130 55
12 MTL 53 25 24 4 142 142 54
13 OTT 53 24 23 6 148 165 54
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47


C. Giroux 50 16 28 -4 44
J. Voracek 50 8 34 1 42
W. Simmonds 50 18 16 -4 34
B. Schenn 48 14 15 -1 29
S. Gostisbehere 32 9 17 4 26
S. Couturier 40 9 15 9 24
M. Read 49 9 9 -5 18
S. Laughton 50 4 10 -6 14
M. Raffl 50 6 6 2 12
M. Del Zotto 48 3 9 -9 12
S. Mason 12 12 7 .916 2.68
M. Neuvirth 11 6 2 .933 2.14
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