SUNRISE, Fla. -- Claude Giroux was almost being sheepish in admitting it happened.
The Flyers actually allowed themselves a bit of celebration after clinching a playoff berth Tuesday night with a 5-2 victory over the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center (see recap).
“A little bit [of celebrating] to be honest,” Giroux said of the postgame atmosphere in the Flyers’ dressing room.
The Flyers almost looked like they were celebrating on ice after making it 4-0 heading into the final period. They got a little too lax, and Florida scored twice to make it a bit hairy.
“We were playing pretty good to get into playoff position right now,” Giroux said. “We played well. The third period tonight wasn’t acceptable. We let [Steve] Mason playing by himself and we need to do a better job playing in the third period and get dialed in at the end of games like this.
“We kind of took our foot off the gas. It was unacceptable. ... We only have three games [left] to work on our game and get ready for the playoffs.”
The Flyers will practice Wednesday in Tampa before meeting the Lightning on Thursday night.
For Mason, this will be only his second taste of playoff hockey. He dined five years ago in Columbus, where he won the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year, but admits it was so long ago it doesn’t matter.
“You see what the Flyers' fan base brings every single game, and it’s an exciting thing to be part of,” said Mason, who had 38 saves in the win. “I haven’t been part of a playoff series with this team.
“But watching on TV, there’s a great atmosphere within the Wells Fargo Center. Come the first game, it’s going to be rocking.”
Giroux had his 11th career two-goal game as the Flyers improved to 20-2-1 when he scores a goal.
Both scores came less than three minutes apart in the second period to make it a 3-0 game.
“Obviously, those goals were huge for us to get the lead,” Giroux said.
Coach Craig Berube wasn’t happy with it.
“They made it closer than it should have been,” he said, adding that the first period wasn’t great, either.
“For me, it was turnovers and just sloppy play. Sloppy hockey more than anything. We didn’t execute very well. Too soft and we weren’t doing what we talked about in the game plan.”
The Flyers let their focus slip, then got it back.
The Flyers qualified for the playoffs for the 37th time in their 45 years of play and the 17th time in the last 19 seasons.
• The Flyers committed just one penalty in the game and killed off the ensuing Florida power play. It was their 20th consecutive successful kill on the road. They haven’t allowed a power-play goal on the road since Feb. 3 at San Jose.
• The Flyers scored four goals in the second period. That’s nine goals in the second period of the last three games. Prior to that, they had scored 65 second-period goals in 76 games this season (0.86 per game).
• The Panthers had 40 shots, marking only the fourth time Florida has ever recorded 40 or more shots in a game against the Flyers.
• Adam Hall had two assists for his 14th career multi-point game and first with the Flyers.
• Defenseman Nick Grossmann was a plus-4, which is the second-highest single-game rating of his career. He was plus-5 for Dallas in a 5-2 win over Calgary on Oct. 9, 2009.