Thursday, April 03, 2008
Flyers' Playoff Hopes Dim
Last night's 4 - 2 loss to the Penguins would not be viewed so horribly if it occurred in January. After all, this was the 4th game of a 4 game road trip, where the Flyers accumulated 5 of a possible 8 points.
They also didn't play horribly last night. The effort and emotion was very good from start to finish.
If this were January, this would be a loss where, as a fan, you would simply pick up and move on.
Unfortunately for the Flyers, the loss came at about the worst possible time. They are still in 8th place in the conference, which puts them in the playoffs. But they are ahead by only one point. Furthermore, the team behind them, the Washington Capitals, are about the hottest team in the league right now, winning 9 of their last 10. Washington also has an incredibly easy schedule for the last two games, facing Tampa tonite (Go Bolts!) and Florida on Saturday. Both Tampa and Florida are out of the playoffs and are not expected to challenge the white hot Caps
The Flyers' schedule? They face two of their main nemeses at home: New Jersey on Friday and the Pens on Saturday. Both teams are jockeying for playoff position and have given the Flyers fits recently. The Flyers have been owned by the Devils all season and lately, the Pens have been doing a good job of bottling up the Flyers
This does not look good.
Further complicating matters is that if Washington continues to win and if Carolina loses, there is the possibility that Washington leap frogs the 8th spot and ends up in the 3rd spot in the East. That would mean the Flyers would be competing with Carolina for 8th spot. Right now, Carolina has 92 points....one more than the Flyers' 91 points, but the Flyers do have 1 game in hand. Carolina's upcoming schedule? Just one more game against the also-ran Florida Panthers
No sir, this does not look good at all.
-The Pens went 4 for 6 on the PP....the Flyers? 1 for 5. Not good enough special teams for this time of year, either on the PP or the PK.
-The Flyers scratched Scottie Upshall last night. The party line is that he takes too many bad penalties. Really? When are they going to scratch Jim Dowd, as he took a stupid hooking call last night and almost took a unsportsmanlike conduct on top of that. The Flyers need Upshall's skill level in the lineup and they need it now.
-This link is an interesting take, from a Pittsburgh perspective, on the history of the Flyers-Pens "rivalry". Kind of a funny read. Almost like the Pens fans and media just discovered hockey or something. Doesn't a rivalry mean that both teams are sort of on some equal footing? As a Flyers fan, I don't like the Pens, but I don't consider them the Flyers' main rival (although it's getting there). The history between the two teams hardly shows a rivalry, with the Flyers dominating the series between the two teams over their respective histories. The Flyers' natural/historical rival, for me, would be either the Rangers or the Devils.