Flyers-Maple Leafs: Postgame Perspective
Without Maikel Franco, Phillies seek first win in series opener with NL Champion Mets

To make playoffs, Flyers must regain swagger

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Steve Kuzma/Flyerdelphia

Do you have a pulse? If you don’t, you may have one now.

And if you did prior to Wayne Simmonds’ game-tying goal last night against the Toronto Maple Leafs, you may have a heart condition.

The Philadelphia Flyers did nothing to keep the stress levels of themselves and their fans at an even keel in their efforts to earn a critical point in their overtime loss.

They still control their own destiny, but that fate seems like it’s set atop a mountain by not gaining the extra point.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have conquered their fears of the Flyers, they’ve slain the demons and, as a result, they’ve manhandled the Orange and Black in their last two meetings.

But this is survival. The Flyers have two options: win out or start golfing. And to avoid getting a head start on their putts, they’ll have to defeat a Penguins team that’s come together in devastating fashion, one that mixes both suffocating defense and blazing offense. Which do you prefer? Being set ablaze or a smothering?

If the Flyers can regain the upper hand on their bitter rivals, they’ll then face the New York Islanders. The Islanders have skated circles around Philadelphia for the past few seasons, but no longer. The last time the two met in Brooklyn, the Flyers left with a 4-1 victory. They’d like the same result come Sunday night.

Of course, they don’t necessarily need to win each game. The New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators can do the Orange and Black a huge favor by defeating the Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins during their early Saturday afternoon affairs. A regulation loss of any kind by either club and the Flyers only need two points. Doesn’t matter how they get them.

But will the Rangers bring any jam against Detroit? After taking a few beatings on the ice and the scoreboard, it wouldn’t make sense. Who wants to play the Penguins in the first round? Especially without Ryan McDonagh and, perhaps, Dan Girardi. They’d much rather go to sunny Florida and face the Panthers. That way, the Rangers would have to go through the Atlantic Division, the considerably easier path to the conference finals.

On the other hand, the Senators have been giving everyone fits lately. They beat the Panthers last night and gave both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia tight contests. They also went into Minnesota and tamed the Wild. It’s possible Ottawa beats Boston, but don’t call your bookie.

Regardless, you’ll have to root for both outcomes, Flyers fans. Yet, more importantly, instead of hoping for another team to fail, start pining for the Flyers have to regain their confidence.

For much of last night’s game and the tilt against Detroit on Wednesday, Philadelphia looked like they did mid-season. They were just waiting for something to go wrong and a lot of things did in each contest. Breakaways, turnovers, overall sluggish play. All the telltale signs of a ravenous wolf that's lost the will to hunt.

That loss to Pittsburgh this past Sunday seemed to rob them of their swagger. They never appeared sure of themselves in Detroit and the Red Wings stifled them in the process. It seemed like that swagger was back in short intervals against Toronto, but not enough to come away with the win.

If they have any hope of making it to the playoffs and doing any semblance of damage to the Washington Capitals, they’ll need to regain that confidence. Without it, they’re doomed. 

This will be a wild weekend for hockey fans in Philadelphia. Don’t forget to check your pulse.

Dan Heaning is a contributing writer for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Dan_Heaning.

Comments

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Peter Marshall

Hate to admit it but they're done. The NHL's Flyers could not beat the AHL's Marlies. About says it all. Unless G and Jake play like the stars they're supposed to be, even though they've been MIA for the last four, five games, and are the best players on the ice this weekend, the two games will be ugly. Then again, maybe they're not that good.

NAARobertWilson

HEY FLYERS FANS!

The Window to the Playoffs is closing for the FLYERS.

Here is a true FACT:

The FLYERS need to win, in Regulation time, a Back to Back Saturday Sunday Games against two of the HOTTEST teams in the Entire NHL in Pittsburgh and NY Islanders.

Lets not forget we also have to Hope that Detroit and Boston needs to slip up and screw up too.

Boston plays their Final Game against Ottawa in Boston on Saturday Afternoon.

Detroit plays their Final Game against NY Rangers in NY on Saturday afternoon as well.

Out of those two games.... Boston has a Cookie if they don't treat Ottawa as a Cookie. Ottawa is out of the Playoffs all together. It is Tempting for Boston to walk in thinking that this is an Easy win. HOWEVER, Ottawa's Individual Players are Playing for a 2017 NHL Job. Also Boston cannot let up as Detroit and Philadelphia are close (93 points 93 points & 92 points)

Detroit has a Tougher Challenge as NYR fell from the top 3 to a Wild Card Slot and are Not HAPPY about that. The NY Islanders play Buffalo on Saturday in Brooklyn and your FLYERS in Brooklyn on Sunday. SO NY Rangers are Hoping to Beat Detroit and that NYI lose one or both of those games to REGAIN Home Ice Advantage in Round 1 of the Playoffs.

Now the toughest News.

Sure the FLYERS have TWO games in hand as Opposed to just one game. BUT THEY ARE BACK TO BACK against TWO of the HOTTEST TEAMS in the last 6 Weeks. NYI have won 6 out of their last 7 and the only team that they lost too in that stretch? Pittsburgh. The Penguins have won their last 9 Straight Games. WOW!

So,... Its like the Equivalent of a amateur club boxer (Ham & Egg'er) Beating a Ranked Champion.

But Wait....... DIDN'T ROCKY BALBOA PULL THAT OFF? DIDN'T ROCKY BEAT CREED?? Yes... but it was the second match....

SO the Point is......

The odds are stacked against the FLYERS.

Now the odd thing is that the FLYERS tend to do better when their back is against the wall and with everything to loose.

IT should be a Dramatic Flair to the End of the Season.

LETS GO FLYERS!

I know who I am rooting for...

Just Sayin'

"FLYERROB"

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