Flyers Face Panthers As Spring Playoff Atmosphere Arrives
In Philadelphia, spring is in the air you can hear the birds sing during the day and the crickets chirp at night. The weather is starting to warm up now, Major League Baseball's spring training has already begun and the Philadelphia Flyers are getting in playoff mode.
The feeling arrived this weekend during back-to back matinee games starting with the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins.
After surrendering goals at the beginning and end of the first period, the Flyers battled back from the two-goal deficit and tied the game with less than five minutes to go in the game.
The two teams battled through a scoreless overtime and met in the shootout where Tim Thomas made the only save, which ultimately was the last save of the game, on Danny Briere to give the Bruins the extra point.
With a sour taste in their mouths, the Flyers were in for another tough test as the Pittsburgh Penguins came to town, this time with their Captain Sidney Crosby. Once again the Flyers were down 2-0 and would have to forge another comeback.
The Flyers fought hard all game and were lead by the havoc wreaking play of Scott Hartnell. The fire he brought to that game is what will be needed from him and his teammates as they enter this season's playoffs.
He showed determination throughout the game, getting in the right places to score the game tying and overtime winning goals for the 3-2 win, all while getting under the opposition's skin.
It's those types of efforts the Flyers need to consistently crank out to get in playoff rhythm. For the Flyers to find that consistency they will need to get as many of their injured players back in the lineup as possible.
With the tight-lipped Holmgren, as a fan you almost never know what, who, how or when someone will be back in the lineup.
The Flyers who recently halted the Penguins 11-game winning streak and will get a chance tonight to spoil the Florida Panthers current run.
Since the 5-0 thrashing the Flyers handed the Panthers on March 8th in Philly, Florida has went 4-0-1 during which Jose Theodore has compiled a 1.36 goals against average.
The Flyers have won all three previous meetings this season between these two teams and have won six straight going back to last season. The Flyers 8-1-1 in their last ten have been the comeback boys of late, riding red-hot Ilya Bryzgalov down the stretch.
He is 8-0-1 with a 1.19 goals against average and broke the Flyers previous consecutive shutout streak by shutting down the opponent for 249:43 minutes before being beaten by Michael Grabner of the New York Islanders.
This shutout streak surpassed his previous best of 249:14 minutes during the 2006 Stanley Cup playoffs while playing for the Anaheim Ducks. Bryzgalov also has recently been named the NHL's first star in back-to-back weeks, the first time that has happened this season.
Both teams are fighting for the playoffs, for the Flyers they are surely going to make the dance it's just a matter of finishing strong and in the highest possible seed.
The Panthers on the other hand are trying to hold onto their playoff position, giving their fans their first playoff action since the 2000-2001 season when they were swept out by the New Jersey Devils.
Expect another tough playoff type performance from both teams tonight.
Step Up Players
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