Only five games remain in this lockout-shortened regular season for the Philadelphia Flyers. These five games serve as a tryout period for players to show why they should or shouldn't stay beyond next season. Some players have already been written off, as it may not make much sense to keep for the future.
Many difficult decisions have to be made this summer, including players that have had extended stints as Flyers.
After dropping a 3-1 decision to the Ottawa Senators on Thursday, they find themselves seven points back of the final playoff spot with eight games to go, needing a bevy of extremely unlikely circumstances to occur for them to even slide into the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference.
"We have a game coming up," head coach Peter Laviolette said after the loss. "We need to win hockey games and focus on the next one."
That may be the only thing the Flyers can do—just try to win with what they have.
(Pictured: Claude Giroux during warm-ups. Photo by Candice Monhollan)
All 30 teams in the NHL know the type of talent Sean Couturier possesses.
Only one, the Philadelphia Flyers, have the fortune of saying that they are possession of his talent.
On the April 3 trade deadline, a handful of teams asked the Flyers about the 20-year-old Couturier. San Jose wanted him in exchange for Ryan Clowe and Ottawa wanted him for Ben Bishop.
The Flyers didn’t bite though, opting to hold onto Couturier rather than deal him for a potential rental forward with no goals or an unproven starting goaltender. They did, however, exercise the notion of trading him for a top, young defenseman or top line scorer.
Couturier was glad this deadline ended, especially for him trying to focus on his play rather than if he's going to get moved.
(Pictured: Sean Couturier celebrates with Jay Rosehill and Erik Gustafsson after setting up Rosehill's goal in the third. John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY)
Playing the latter of a grueling back-to-back, the Flyers overcame a late surge by a good Toronto Maple Leafs team, holding on to win 5-3 Thursday night. It was their fourth straight win and earned them two huge points in the standings.
Sean Couturier had a fantastic game. He was all over the ice, notching a pair of assists and seemingly looked like he was always out there despite playing just over 13 minutes.
(Pictured: Kimmo Timonen and Sean Couturier take out Mikhail Grabovski in the 2nd period. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette)
Erik Gustafsson's game winning goal drove the Flyers to a second straight comeback win over the Montreal Canadiens 5-3 on Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Center. It was their third win in a row—the first three-game winning streak of the season.
This contest meant plenty to both sides. For the Flyers, it meant drawing closer to the eighth playoff spot. For the Canadiens, it meant staying ahead of the struggling Boston Bruins in the Northeast Division.
Sometimes, coaches get a little more out of certain players than they hope for in certain situations.
For head coach Peter Laviolette, he wanted to neutralize Washington's top scoring tandem of Alex Ovechkin and Mike Ribeiro. By doing so, he put forechecking specialists Sean Couturier and Ruslan Fedotenko out onto the ice.
Laviolette wound up getting more out of Fedotenko in that situation than he had hoped. Fedotenko got himself in the right position, scoring the game-winning goal to seal a comeback win for the Flyers, stealing an important two points in the process.