In their first move during the free agency period, the Philadelphia Flyers brought back a familiar face to fill their backup goaltender position, signing Michael Leighton to a 1-year, $900k contract. Leighton replaces Sergei Bobrovsky, who was traded from the Flyers to the Columbus Blue Jackets on June 22 in return for three draft picks.
The stage has been set, and the opponents have been decided: the Philadelphia Flyers (47-29-9) will be facing the Pittsburgh Penguins (50-29-6) in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Based on games played by both teams on Thursday night, Pittsburgh will end the season in 4th place and the Flyers in 5th in the Eastern Conference.
The New York Rangers clinched the East with a win over the Flyers on Tuesday night.
On Saturday, the Flyers and Penguins will meet in Pittsburgh for the last game of the regular season. It will be a preview of the playoff series to come, and will likely be an interesting game, based on the last matchup between the teams.
First comes a playoff spot and then comes the top spot in the division.
It’s a stretch, but that’s what the Philadelphia Flyers (45-24-8) will keep working towards as they face the Ottawa Senators (39-28-10) on Saturday afternoon.
After a 7-1 beatdown of the despondent Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night, the Flyers will look to make it two wins in a row against Ottawa. The Senators will aim to continue a streak of their own, as they’ve won two straight.
In the three games between the two teams this season, the Flyers have won twice. The Senators won the last meeting, 6-4 back on January 8.
The Flyers are considered to be buyers in the coming weeks as the trade deadline rolls near.
Players like Nashville’s Ryan Suter and Shea Weber as well as Toronto’s Luke Schenn have been mentioned in numerous possible trade situations and rumors. But in the end, will it all matter for the Flyers?
Before this turns into a column writing off the Flyers, take a step back and look at the situation the team is in. They are currently eight points behind the Rangers for the Atlantic Division lead while resting with the fourth seed.
But on the other side of the Flyers, they are only eight points ahead of the ninth place Capitals. The Flyers could very easily be in the bottom half of the playoff tree when April rolls around and their possible match ups could spell doom.
After only five minutes into the second period, it looked like it was going to be a long night.
Losers of three consecutive games against three division opponents and being held scoreless for over 98 minutes, the Philadelphia Flyers managed to lose two separate leads almost as quickly as they had gained them.
Facing a formidable Toronto Maple Leafs club that could pull within three points of the Flyers in the Eastern Conference standings with a win, Thursday night was a chance for a struggling team to turn the ship around.
While the first five minutes of the second was disappointing, it was the final five minutes that proved to be the game.
Following a goal by Claude Giroux to take the lead, it was Brayden Schenn who scored around the five-minute mark to give the Flyers enough to hold on for a 4-3 win.