PITTSBURGH -- Flyers coach Craig Berube would like nothing better than to win this afternoon’s game and rest some players in Sunday’s regular-season finale against Carolina.
Because Columbus lost in Tampa Bay on Friday night (see story), all the Flyers have to do Saturday to clinch third place in the Metropolitan Division and assure themselves of opening the playoffs next week in New York against the Rangers, is win (see game notes).
One win in the final two games.
“We’ll look at this game and see what happens,” Berube said. “We know a little more.”
The Penguins are expected to field near a full lineup of their best players, based on comments made by team captain Sidney Crosby and Pens coach Dan Bylsma on Friday.
Steve Mason will appear in his 61st game today, which represents a career high for him. He is also trying for his 34th win, which would also set a new standard.
If the Flyers win, then Mason will be rested Sunday against the Hurricanes and Ray Emery will be in net. Chances are, at least one veteran will be rested today, regardless.
Berube says he is looking for one thing today from his players: less critical mistakes.
“We played a pretty good game in Tampa but made a couple mistakes and they capitalized on them,” he said. “I didn’t think we executed enough on our chances. But I thought our game was pretty good for the most part.”
Two mental lapses led to two goals during a 4-2 loss at Tampa.
The Flyers don’t want to chance having to win Sunday to settle their fate.
“We have to play some top hockey here right now,” Scott Hartnell said. “We have two games to get things sorted out and on the right page and rolling forward with a little bit of momentum going into the playoffs. We have to play harder, smarter and capitalize on opportunities.”