With a Florida trip that featured the next best possible thing to two wins, the Flyers managed to maintain their position in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Now they look to take a step up this week with games against each of the two teams they’re chasing.
The Flyers were two points back of Detroit and three back of Pittsburgh when they took off for Florida last Thursday. After taking three of a possible four points against two of the top teams in the Atlantic Division in a state where they’d only won one game in the last three years, the Flyers are now two back of Pittsburgh and three behind the Red Wings, with one game in hand on Detroit.
The Red Wings picked up a huge win over the New York Rangers on Saturday, tying the game in the final minute before winning in overtime. The Penguins managed to pull out a 3-2 win in Columbus on Friday before having Saturday off. Both of those teams are in action Sunday while the Flyers are off – Pittsburgh hosts the Rangers and Detroit welcomes Toronto – so those numbers could change. But even if they do, the Flyers will still be in a good position – they’ll have one game in hand on Pittsburgh and two on Detroit by the end of the day.
Meanwhile, the Flyers will spend Sunday with their fans at the Flyers Wives Carnival before returning their focus to the playoff chase, with the goal of continuing the solid play that’s brought them 13 of a possible 16 points in their last eight games.
Tuesday’s game against the Red Wings will be the first of five the Flyers have against those two teams they’re chasing. That’s the first half of another back-to-back, with a trip to Chicago coming up for Wednesday night. Saturday brings the second big game of the week – the first of three games remaining against Pittsburgh.
The Flyers just played their first two of six consecutive games against teams currently in a playoff spot. After that stretch, they’ll play four in a row against teams currently on the outside.
While each game is important, the final 15 contests are going to feel more like a marathon than a sprint. The Flyers will continue to treat it that way, taking a game-by-game approach that they hope will extend their season past mid-April.