Clinch Time: Flyers overpower Panthers to lock up playoff spot


Vincent Lecavalier celebrates with his teammates after scoring the first goal in the Flyers 5-2 win over the Florida Panthers. (Photo Courtesy of

With a playoff spot on the line, the Flyers turned in a second period for the ages. That set off a celebration in Philadelphia.

The Flyers officially locked up a playoff spot with a 4-2 win against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night, returning to the playoffs for the first time since the 2011-12 season.

A scoreless first period was rather forgettable for the Flyers. They failed to score on an extended power play that featured a four-minute double-minor for high sticking and a period of 5-on-3 play. They out-shot the Panthers, 12-10, but didn't play with the energy expected from a team ready to clinch a playoff berth.

In the second, the Flyers took over.

It started early with Vincent Lecavalier joining the 20-goal club with his 20th goal of the season at 2:02. He became the seventh Flyer to reach the 20-goal mark, the first time the Flyers have had seven 20-goal scorers in 24 years.

The captain, Claude Giroux, joined in at 6:29 with his 26th goal of the season. He scored again just two minutes later for his team-leading 27th goal of the season.

At 15:03, Sean Couturier capped off the scoring in the period with a goal off a Florida turnover. Couturier's first goal in 18 games ended a four-goal period for the Flyers.

The Panthers made things interesting to start the third, scoring just 1:14 into the period. Erik Gudbranson threw a shot on goal and beat Steve Mason

Florida cut into the lead further as Jonathan Huberdeau scored at 5:38 to make it a two-goal game.

The Flyers managed to add an insurance goal late as Tye McGinn scored with 4:54 remaining. That would be enough for the Flyers to hold on and clinch a playoff spot.

Mason was solid in net. Despite allowing two third-period goals, he stopped 38 shots en route to another win.

The Flyers now have their playoff spot but three remaining games on the regular season to play first. The next is on Thursday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Kevin Durso is the lead beat writer for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.

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