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Months after terrible start, Flyers can clinch postseason berth tonight

Apr 8, 2014, 5:22 PM EDT

Craig Berube AP

Win and they’re in. That’s the story tonight for the Philadelphia Flyers as they visit Florida to take on the woeful Panthers.

For the Flyers — who still have four games left on their schedule, including tonight’s — clinching a playoff spot at anytime this season wasn’t looking too likely after they got off to a 1-7-0 start. Head coach Peter Laviolette had already been fired after just three games, with Craig Berube taking over behind the bench.

Philadelphia went through another tough stretch in December, leading owner Ed Snider to suggest more changes could be coming. General manager Paul Holmgren appeared to be very much on the hot seat.

But since blowing a 4-1 lead to the Capitals on Dec. 15, the Flyers have gone an impressive 26-14-5. While it hasn’t been all roses for Philly in the New Year, it’s been a lot better than it was looking in October.

“It’s a special time for us,” said Flyers captain Claude Giroux. “We want to make sure we get in tonight. We need to focus on how we play. After tonight’s game, we want to be a better team than before.”

  1. WillIEverSeeACupInMyLife? - Apr 8, 2014 at 5:23 PM

    Okay, I admit it……I was wrong.

    • barkar942 - Apr 8, 2014 at 5:42 PM

      Hey- don’t feel bad. You are not alone. If you had told me at the end of October that the Flyers and the Rangers were both going to be in the playoffs, I would have asked you what you were smoking.

      • govtminion - Apr 8, 2014 at 6:22 PM

        Amen to that. I thought for sure those two were done for, or at least that they’d maybe sneak a wild card spot at best. That they’re ready to face each other next week in the playoffs… I’m impressed with both teams digging deep and turning it around.

  2. elmerbrownelmerbrown - Apr 8, 2014 at 5:35 PM

    It just ain’t the NHL playoffs if the FLYERS ain’t knocking out the Penguins

    • killerpgh - Apr 8, 2014 at 7:19 PM

      Since 2008 the Penguins have won 2 out of 3 playoffs series against the Flyers. But if your team hasn’t won a Stanley Cup since Gerald Ford was the President of the United States I guess you are used to living in the past.

      • yougotgirouxed - Apr 8, 2014 at 7:27 PM

        So are totally comfortable to face the flyers in a 7 game series? Answer honestly.

      • willycliffton - Apr 8, 2014 at 7:29 PM

        Ok and since 1989 the Flyers have won 4 series to 2 including the first 3 in a row. What does this have to do with anything? If you want to talk history, try recent history where the pens got thoroughly dismantled by a team with Bryzgalov as their goalie.

      • killerpgh - Apr 8, 2014 at 8:13 PM

        Yes I’m totally comfortable with the Penguins playing the Flyers in the playoffs. I’m not some cocky fan who thinks the Penguins can steam roll any team in the playoff. I feel the Pens are a good team who has a chance against any team. Just like any other team that makes the playoffs. As a fan I would love nothing more than a Pens/Flyers playoff series. It might not have always been the outcome I hoped for in the recent Pens/Flyers 3 series, but they have been some great series to watch and as a fan that’s really fine by me.

  3. thailer35 - Apr 8, 2014 at 5:42 PM

    What about Berube for Jack Adams? Obviosusly Roy is the frontrunner, but the Flyers were AWFUL at the start of the year. Just saying the argument could be made.

  4. djshnooks - Apr 8, 2014 at 5:54 PM

    Playing like the Sabres of years past…going on a meaningless run to barely get to 8th place and bounced in 4 games.

    This is why Buffalo is doing what they are doing. Much rather have 2 crappy years and build a young team that can grow and compete together EVERY year, rather than chase 8th place and mediocrity every year.

    • maalea - Apr 8, 2014 at 6:19 PM

      Yea, just like in 2010.

      Not saying there will be a long run but you never know in the playoffs.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Apr 8, 2014 at 7:06 PM

      They’re not chasing 8th place, they’re chasing the #2 seed in their division. The Flyers are not a mediocre team. They have a nice mixture of young talent and veteran experience. Stanley Cup caliber? Probably not, but you never know how things will go once you get in (ahem 2010). And in hockey you don’t have to bomb every season to build a winner… it’s not the NBA and we’re not the Penguins. Has consistent losing brought the patient Oilers fans any results?

      I think a large majority of Sabres fans would trade their core for the Flyers core in a second.

    • skr213 - Apr 8, 2014 at 7:09 PM

      Wait, so you’re saying the Flyers organization should be more like the Sabres? Please hand me some of whatever you’re smoking.

    • flyerspsu - Apr 8, 2014 at 7:17 PM

      another sabres fan desperately trying to find something to brag about

      heres the thing, the Flyers arent old, they have a good young core developing that already makes up a good team

      Couturier: 21
      B schenn: 22
      Voracek: 24
      Simmonds: 25
      Raffl: 25 (Rookie)
      Giroux: 26
      Read: 27 (3rd season)

      thats 7 of the Flyers top 9, all signed for at least another 2 more years except for schenn who will likely get a bridge deal in the offseason

      so i got to say, as im sure most people would agree, this is a MUCH better situation than being the worst team in the league and doing a complete rebuild, it didnt work for the oilers and are still one of the worst teams in the league, it took columbus about 12 years to build a good team, its not a given when you rebuild

      • ibieiniid - Apr 9, 2014 at 8:16 AM

        it’s comforting that 5 (6?) out of those 7 young guys are 20 goal scorers this season as well. the future looks pretty nice from here too.

  5. sjsharks66 - Apr 8, 2014 at 5:57 PM

    thailer35 yeah but how many games into the season did Laviolette get fired? How long were they playing terrible for Berube? Roy had his foot on the gas as soon as he stepped behind the Avs bench.

    • skr213 - Apr 8, 2014 at 8:10 PM

      To be fair, Roy had the whole pre-season to get his team on the same page. I think Roy should easily win the Jack Adams, but I think it’s fair to throw Berube’s hat into the ring as well.

  6. drewsylvania - Apr 8, 2014 at 6:00 PM

    @nooks That’s really not true. The Flyers have been very strong since the horrible start. They give the Bruins fits. I bet they’ll win at least one series, perhaps two.

    • ibieiniid - Apr 9, 2014 at 8:16 AM

      it really depends. Lundqvist has the Flyers number. i’m scared to play the rangers.

  7. sndflyers - Apr 8, 2014 at 7:02 PM

    I’m sorry but I have no reason to lie. I never doubted this team would make the playoffs. The Flyers always make the playoffs! When a season is 82 games long there is absolutely no way to judge a team after 8 or 10 games. Stop following the media and have faith in your team. This team will be dangerous going into the first round.

    • sndflyers - Apr 8, 2014 at 10:26 PM

      Hmm Claude Giroux just said the same exact thing as my comment in his post game interview.

  8. skr213 - Apr 8, 2014 at 8:08 PM

    On November 2, 2013 at 1:12pm, Joey predicted that this turn around would occur.

    • ibieiniid - Apr 9, 2014 at 8:19 AM

      lol you mean he covered his bases and said “they’ll possibly turn it around” so he didn’t look stupid later… just after making bold predictions about how the Flyers will implode, Snider will fall and break his back and the entire city of Philadelphia will be engulfed in flames and be pulled into the pit of Hell. but yeah, he predicted the turnaround after that, so his “accuracy rating” is still high.

  9. billiam55 - Apr 8, 2014 at 11:45 PM

    from a NYR fan, i tip my hat off to these guys and the coaching staff. bc they were god awful in the beginning.

    • ibieiniid - Apr 9, 2014 at 8:21 AM

      it’s going to be a very stressful first round, man. if there’s one team I’m really scared of dumping water on the Flyers, it’s the Rangers. Lundqvist always scares me. i’m also glad Brodeur isn’t in it. he turns into a plywood sheet against the Flyers too.

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