TAMPA, Fla. -- So how do the Flyers overtake the New York Rangers and steal second place in the Metropolitan Division from them?
If the Flyers win their remaining three games, they will finish with 97 points. They have a game in hand on New York, which can finish with 97 points but holds a tiebreaker.
If the Flyers win out and the Rangers split with a win and regulation loss or overtime loss, they can only finish with a maximum of 96 points, which gives the Flyers second place.
Second place means home ice for the first round of the playoffs.
“Home ice is important,” coach Craig Berube said. “We all know that.”
The Flyers may covet home ice but it’s not looking good, even though they will catch a break in one game on Thursday night against the Lightning because goalie Ben Bishop (37 wins) is injured and Anders Lindback (six wins) will get the start.
“Even though we made the playoffs, we don’t want to fall to the bottom where Boston or Pittsburgh is waiting there,” said Jakub Voracek.
“We got to make sure we keep winning these last three games and hope we catch the Rangers. We got to hold off the Blue Jackets first.”
Teammate Sean Couturier said these last three games come down to inner strength.
“Self-motivation is trying to catch the Rangers and get that home ice,” Couturier said. “We should use that as motivation to get three wins.”
The Flyers face Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh and Carolina to end the season, while New York has Buffalo and Montreal.
“You move forward and try to get home ice,” said Kimmo Timonen. “The better you play these last three games, it’s better for the playoffs.
“You can’t relax now just because you made the playoffs. It’s a great accomplishment for our team, but we move forward. Win [tonight], win Saturday, then win Sunday. That’s the key.”
Vinny Lecavalier, the seventh and newest member of the Flyers’ 20-goal club, has been saying all week the team's focus needed to be on catching the Rangers.
“You got to fight for position now and home ice is important,” Lecavalier said. “We got to make sure we finish strong.
“Every time we’ve had a big challenge this year, we came and played the way we should play. It doesn’t change. [This] is a big game, then go into Pittsburgh.”
He also said this is the time you build momentum for the postseason run. He referenced the Lightning’s 2004 run to the Stanley Cup against Calgary.
“When we won the Cup in 2004, we were 10th or 11th in December,” Lecavalier said. “We finished strong … we kept winning and building that confidence.
“It’s all about going into playoffs with confidence knowing you can go into any game and win a hockey game. We’re in a good spot.”
After skating to their best record in four years, the Philadelphia Flyers quelled the notion that they would show the growing pains of a rebuilding franchise in 2016. A playoff berth in Dave Hakstol’s first year as head coach brought about the emergence of a new noisemaker in the crowded Metropolitan division, one that stretched the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Washington Capitals to six games in the Quarterfinals.
The Flyers will look to build on the success of last season by relying more on budding players Shane Gostisbehere and Ivan Provanov while veterans Claude Giroux, Mark Streit and Boyd Gordon all look to lead the team back to another postseason. And while excitement continues to build in Philadelphia, fans can find comfort in the fact that Flyers tickets on the secondary market are the least expensive they’ve been this decade.
On TicketIQ, a leading online aggregator that pools both primary and secondary market listings to give consumers the most transparent buying experience, Flyers tickets are averaging $108.32 across all 41 home games at Wells Fargo Center this season. That marks a 12.4 percent drop from the $123.64 average at the beginning of last season. It is the cheapest home average the Flyers have posted since 2010, when TicketIQ began tracking resale ticket data.
While Thursday’s home opener served as one of the NHL’s most expensive games this week, a March 15 matchup with the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins will be the most expensive Flyers home game this season. That game currently owns a $183.16 average, 69 percent over the season average, and the cheapest available tickets are priced for $73 each. Other top-priced games at Wells Fargo Center this season include January 4 against the New York Rangers ($163.62 avg./$57 get-in) and October 29 against the Penguins ($156.36 avg./$90 get-in).
For those looking for tickets to the cheapest Flyers games this season, an October 27 matchup with the Arizona Coyotes is the least expensive home game to attend. Tickets are averaging just $63.50, 41 percent below season average, and the get-in price is $16. Back-to-back games against the Ottawa Senators and Winnipeg Jets on November 15 and 17 follow, with tickets starting from just $20 each at both contests.
For the best deals on Flyers tickets this season, make sure to download the TicketIQ app. Fans can save up to 10 percent on all IQ Certified listings in the only engagement-based loyalty program in the marketplace. Download the TicketIQ app and start saving today!
Another Flyers player has been suspended by the NHL Department of Player Safety.
This time, it's right winger Dale Weise, who on Friday was banned three games for an illegal check to the head of Ducks defenseman Korbinian Holzer during the Flyers' 3-2 home-opening loss Thursday night.
As Holzer was attempting to chip the puck out of his own zone in the second period, Weise lowered his right shoulder and made a high hit to the blueliner.
The NHL Department of Player Safety explained that Weise made the head the main point of contact on a hit where such head contact was avoidable and unnecessary. Weise is a repeat offender, as he lost three preseason games for a hit while playing with the Canucks ahead of the 2013-14 regular season.
With Weise's suspension, rookie Roman Lyubimov, the Flyers' lone remaining healthy scratch, will enter the lineup.
The Flyers have been suspended an NHL-most 12 games. Forward Brayden Schenn served a three-game suspension to start the season for a hit in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, while defenseman Radko Gudas is currrently serving a six-gamer for a check during the preseason.
Weise, who the Flyers signed in the offseason to a four-year, $9.4 million deal, has not registered a point in four games playing on the team's third line.