The Flyers and the Colorado Avalanche are in very similar positions right now.
Despite one of the worst losses of the season, the Flyers are technically in the last wildcard spot/tied with the Red Wings. The Avalanche trail the Minnesota Wild by one point in the West, just outside of the final wildcard spot. Both teams are hoping to either pull ahead or stay alive in the fight for that final playoff spot. Both the Red Wings and the Wild play games tonight.
Tonight, four teams desperately fighting for a playoff spot will play games. It’s gonna be a tug-of-war and by the end of the night, the Flyers will either be one step closer to a post-season run or continuing to struggle. Either way, the embarrassing loss to the Blue Jackets will continue to sting until the end of the season.
Don’t Expect Any Help.
The Flyers are tied with the Red Wings in points. Technically they are ahead in the standings because they have one more game left to play. Both teams play tonight. The Red Wings are playing the Montreal Canadiens tonight. The Canadiens are absolutely terrible without their superstar goalie Carey Price. The Red Wings will probably win tonight putting a lot of pressure on the Flyers to keep up.
Yes, that’s a bit pessimistic, but the Canadiens suck.
We Should Probably End that.
The Flyers lost to Columbus on Tuesday night. You all remember it, it was a bad time. The Avalanche are on a three-game winning streak coming into tonight’s game. They’ve gone up against arguably easy competition in the Canucks, Flames and Oilers, but they were given a hard time.
There’s another streak that the Flyers should be trying to end. The Flyers haven’t won a game in Colorado since December in 2002.
Hope You Got Enough Sleep.
The Flyers schedule has been packed. Their schedule coming up isn’t much better. The Flyers had two back to back games and play tonight with only one day in between. With Michal Neuvirth injured, Steve Mason is getting a lot of work. Anthony Stolarz probably won’t get many starts in the final stretch of the season and with a night of rest between games, it probably doesn’t seem necessary to Dave Hakstol to rest Mason and risk Stolarz getting a start.
The Avalanche are much more well rested. They’ve only played to games in the past seven days and they’ve had the last three days off. Yet again a slightly worn Flyers team will go up against an opponent that isn’t fighting fatigue.
The Avalanche will be without their top two scoring forwards tonight. Nathan Mackinnon and Matt Duchene both suffered knee injuries and will miss two of the most important games of the season. Duchene(56 points) and Mackinnon(52 points) will miss tonight’s game against the Flyers and their next game against the Minnesota Wild.
The Avs are 2-0 without Duchene, who was injured March 16 at Vancouver, and 1-0 without MacKinnon, who went down Friday at Calgary. Both played every game before their injuries.” – Denver post.
The Avalanche will rely on rookie Mikko Rantanen who is getting close to his 10 game limit that would burn through his first contract year.
Never Stop Attacking.
The Flyers have a really bad habit of desperately trying to defend a lead and sitting back and letting the opposite team hammer them in their own zone, hoping to just hold on through regulation. Often, this strategy doesn’t work. If they gain a lead, the Flyers will have to continue to put pressure on the Avalanche to avoid a complete breakdown in the final seconds.
Bill Meltzer did a wonderfully depressing breakdown of all the Flyers last second breakdowns, go ahead and read it …. 6-on-5 Woes, Faulty Close-Outs Costing Flyers