The Flyers are holding desperately onto the #4 seed, trying to get home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs this season. The Flyers control their own destiny, as they are tied with Carolina with 95 points, but have a game in hand. The Penguins have 93 points, but the Flyers have a game in hand on them also. Unfortunately, this team isn’t making it easy on themselves, losing 3 of 4 games, and 4 of 6. The Flyers also still have tough games among the final four games, with two against the Rangers, and one against the Panthers. The Rangers and Panthers are tied for 8th in the Eastern Conference, so they will be fighting hard to get into the playoffs.
The Flyers have been unnervingly inconsistent down the stretch. Their scoring has slowed down for the most part, despite the 8 goals they scored against Toronto last Friday. Neither goalie has really won the starting job going into the playoffs, although Biron has played better down the stretch. Heading into the playoffs, this team should be able to score goals, it is just still a matter of their defense not giving up easy opportunities for the opposition, and Biron making the saves that he needs to make. Come playoff time, just like pitching in baseball, goaltending in the NHL gets much more important. You cannot go deep into the playoffs unless you have sharp goaltending. Biron must do what he did last season and start playing his best hockey come playoff time.
Another thing to look at is the seed that the Flyers will end up getting. Currently, they are in the 4th spot with four games to play, yet still have not even clinched a playoff spot. Hopefully, they will stay in the 4 spot, but if they continue to play poor hockey, they could end up dropping out of the playoffs completely, or more realistically, losing home ice in the first round.
Home ice is important, but so is the team we will face in the first round. I’m not sure the players concern themselves with too much with who they will face, but as fans, we want to face the optimal matchup for our boys in orange and black. Right now, that appears to be the Carolina Hurricanes. Carolina holds a two-point lead over the Penguins for the 5th spot, and as a Flyers fan, we hope it stays that way. We do not want to face the Penguins in the first round. The Flyers play exciting matchups against the Penguins, but you still do not want to face them. We believe the Flyers can beat anyone in the Eastern Conference if they are playing their game, but due to recent history, we would rather not see the Penguins or the Devils in a playoff match-up.
The Flyers have four games left and have to get their act together before the playoffs. They need to start playing a lot better defensively and get the puck in the back of the net if they want to advance in the playoffs.