Five points back of the first-place Rangers and four points back of the fourth-place Penguins, the Flyers obviously can't catch either team tonight. But after watching the Rangers sit atop the conference for months, and after assuming a first round playoff matchup with either the Pens for the past few weeks, might the Flyers be faced with the Blue Shirts in the first round?
With New York sliding, just 4-6-0 in their last 10, the Penguins haven't lost a game in regulation over the same stretch, going 9-0-1, and have been further benefitted by the return of Sidney Crosby.
With a Ranger loss to the Maple Leafs and Penguin win over the Senators, Pittsburgh would move into first place in the Eastern Conference by night's end, swapping spots with the Rangers to drop the former-leaders down to fourth.
As all that's going on, the Flyers can do nothing except that which they've already been doing for weeks: take care of their own business and ignore the rest. And so, rather than focusing of its playoff future, Peter's Laviolette's club will once again be better off focusing on the task at hand -- namely, clinching a playoff spot of their own with a win over the Montreal Canadiens tonight.
Now, to matters specifically pertaining to the Flyers -- when, if ever, will this team get on the same page with its goaltender? When they were scoring, Ilya Bryzgalov couldn't stop the other team from doing the same. Now that he's stopping nearly everything sent his way, the pucks aren't going in at the other end of the ice either.
Bryz is the owner of a 9-1-1 record, 1.24 GAA and .956 save percentage in the month of March. The team around him, however, has scored just 7 goals in its last four games.
Fortunately for the Flyers, who are trying to accumulate as many points as possible down the stretch to maybe secure home-ice in the first round, Montreal has not won in Philadelphia in its last three attempts and is currently dead-last in the conference.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. on CSN.
Is tonight the night they find a way to put it all together on home-ice, clinching one of those X's next to their name in the process?
Separately, with a surging Pittsburgh and a struggling New York vying for the top spot in the East, who are are you more (or less) afraid of in the first round? Does the prospect of either still have you hoping for a slide to sixth?