What a relief. The Flyers are in the playoffs for the first time since 2012 and there are still games to be played. Now it isn’t all set as the Flyers are still jockeying for position so tonight’s game against the Lightning is important.
Philadelphia is currently sitting in third place in the Metropolitan Division at 91 points, two behind the Rangers for second place but the Flyers have a game in hand. Both Wild Card teams, the Red Wings and Blue Jackets, are sitting at 91 points but the Flyers have a game in hand on both.
If the playoffs started today, the Flyers would face the Rangers in the first round with the Rangers holding home ice advantage. The first Wild Card team, which is the Red Wings at the moment, will play the Penguins while the second Wild Card team, the Blue Jackets right now, will play the Bruins.
Although the Flyers are in the playoffs, they want to grab home ice from the Rangers because Philadelphia has not won at Madison Square Garden since February 2011.
The good news is the Flyers are coming off consecutive victories over the Sabres and Panthers this week – both by a score of 5-2. Tuesday night’s win was enormous for the Flyers as they clinched the playoffs but did so by opening up the scoring in the second period. Vinny Lecavalier put home his 20th goal of the year giving the Flyers a league-leading seven 20-goal scorers. It marks the first time since the 1989-90 season the Flyers have had seven 20-goal scorers.
Claude Giroux scored two goals of his own in the second period to overtake Wayne Simmonds for the team-lead in goals with 27. Also in the second period, Sean Couturier snapped his 17-game goal drought with his 11th goal of the year.
It was a solid offensive night.
Tonight the Flyers are facing a goaltender that has had some success against them in the past. The Lightning have tabbed Anders Lindback for the start due to the injury to starter Ben Bishop. Lindback only has six wins on the season but two of those victories have come against the Flyers. In his career against the Flyers, Lindback is 4-3-0 in seven starts boasting a 2.30 goals against average and a .918 save percentage.
Puck drop from the Tampa Bay Times Forum is 7:30 pm.