90 on 95

Sports, rumors, and humor from the Ben Franklin to the George Washington

For Flyers, it’s Now or Never

With a 5-2 loss to the lowly Ottawa Senators last night and a Capitals shootout win, the Flyers are now two points behind Washington for the top spot in the East and have seen a comfortable Conference lead evaporate in the last two months by playing hockey games on autopilot. More alarming, they are now only 1 point ahead of the Pens for the Atlantic division lead. Even more alarming, the Flyers have now lost 13 of the last 19 games (4 in a shootout) with only two to go.

Time to buckle down and get gritty

Say what you want about standings, seeding, home ice advantage, first round playoff matchups, etc. Fans and the media get so obsessed with this lead and that lead, and this seed and that seed. Would I rather play the Callahan-less Rangers instead of the Lightning in the first round? Sure. But the Flyers of 2010 showed us that it really doesn’t matter who you play, because to make it to the Finals, you’re going to have to go through the best to be the best.

The Stanley Cup Playoffs, like any playoffs in sports, is about momentum. It’s about playing your best hockey and peaking at the time when it matters most. The Flyers of last season got into the playoffs in a shootout win over the Rangers on the last day of the regular season. You want to talk about momentum? That, is how you go into the grind riding a high.

Philadelphia has two games left – away against a hot and very motivated Buffalo Sabres team (which I’d be glad not to see in the first round), and home against the Islanders the next day. Standings and seeding aside, they need to play well in these games. They need to win these games. They need to get some confidence back and prove to themselves that they can not only beat teams, but play like the team that absolutely steam rolled every opponent from October through January.

The Flyers need to take advantage of their final chances to build momentum heading into next week’s playoffs. Add the returns of Danny Briere and Mr. Playoff Chris Pronger to the lineup, and we could see a turn around very quickly. If not, we could see just as quick an exit from a once very promising season.

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