This is it Flyers Nation. The Philadelphia Flyers (41-26-14) regular season finale is upon us, and it could not be any more critical. All the orange in black need is to obtain one point in Saturday afternoon’s contest against the New York Rangers (34-38-9), and they are in the postseason. However, if they suffer defeat to their rivals in regulation, their playoff fate lies in the hands of another franchise.
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Line Combinations: Courtesy of Daily Faceoff
Claude Giroux – Sean Couturier – Michael Raffl
Oskar Lindblom – Nolan Patrick – Jake Voracek
Travis Konecny – Valtteri Filppula – Wayne Simmonds
Scott Laughton – Jori Lehtera – Matt Read
Ivan Provorov – Shayne Gostisbehere
Andrew MacDonald – Travis Sanheim
Brandon Manning – Radko Gudas
Chris Kreider – Mika Zibanejad – Ryan Spooner
Jimmy Vesey – Filip Chytil – Mat Zuccarello
Vladislav Namestnikov – Kevin Hayes – Pavel Buchnevich
Paul Carey – Lias Andersson – Peter Holland
Marc Staal – Neal Pionk
Brady Skjei – Ryan Sproul
John Gilmour – Rob O’Gara
Three Storylines to Watch
As was mentioned before, the Flyers control their destiny, in regards to a playoff berth. They have a four-point lead over the Florida Panthers for the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with the Panthers having two remaining games. Still, all Philadelphia needs is one point today, and the playoff spot is theirs. If the Flyers fail to gain any points this afternoon, the Panthers would still have to defeat the Buffalo Sabres today and the Boston Bruins tomorrow. However, the last thing the Flyers want to do is rely on other teams to secure their postseason position. It is all about coming out and getting the job done against the Rangers.
With the NHL fixing their previous mistake and giving Claude Giroux an assist on Michael Raffl’s goal in Thursday’s game against Carolina, the Flyers captain is now just one point shy of 100 on the season. It would be a fantastic feat for him to accomplish as he has had such a remarkable season. Of course, Giroux will be more focused on getting his team to the playoffs than getting to the 100-point mark. However, Philadelphia has a much better chance of reaching their goal if he gets on the score sheet.
The Rangers have certainly had a down year and appear to be at the beginning stages of what could be a lengthy rebuild. Still, the Flyers would be foolish to take their opponents this afternoon lightly. New York would love nothing more than possibly spoiling their rival’s chances at making the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and they will be ready for a fight.