The Philadelphia Flyers were able to hold off the Buffalo Sabres long enough to notch a win last night. The Sabres sit in the 8th seed of the Atlantic division. After a four game losing streak for the Flyers, line changes by Head Coach Craig Berube had positive effects on team chemistry and were the major contributors to the win.
Steve Mason had a confidence boost last night as the Flyers seemingly aim their sights towards the playoffs. Recently a weak link for the Flyers, although he has been great in goal all season, there is no guarantee Mason will start in goal for the remaining games. With four games left we might see an appearance by Ray Emery to give Mason a rest before the playoffs.
Zac Rinaldo sniped his second goal of the season but minutes later left the game on a penalty that will also bench him for the rest of the regular season. Now that Rinaldo has received a 4 game suspension could all that positive chemistry change? Every time Rinaldo steps on the ice the energy changes. He finishes checks, applies pressure and is an integral part of the team. It is very unfortunate that such a suspension happened at this time in the season, especially since Rinaldo has been playing so well. Hopefully this lets him rest up for playoffs and puts him in a great frame of mind.
Although the Flyers did not play a perfect game last night they did claim those very important points that are keeping them mere steps in front of the Blue Jackets. The Blue Jackets have launched themselves up in the standings and they are knocking at the door, looking to edge the Flyers out of their playoff spot. With one wrong move the Flyers could slip out of their playoff spot. In the coming days I think the Blue Jackets will split wins and losses during their last games and the Flyers need to win 2 out of their last 4 games to stay ahead.
I think the playoffs look very promising for the Flyers but just as they work to claim that official spot in the coming days the real work begins. They will need to apply the pressure, get pucks deep and never let up during the playoffs. A more consistent competitive edge that we haven’t seen the Flyers have on a steady basis all season. If they can figure it out, there may be hope for a playoff run but more than likely enjoy the first few games and a slightly extended season for the Flyers this year. Only time will tell how the end of the regular season will shake out, with everyone’s eyes on the playoffs we could still be in for a surprise in the very competitive Metropolitan division.