Philadelphia Flyers: Battle For Home-Ice Begins
Coming off a dominating 7-1 performance against the life-less Toronto Maple Leafs, the Philadelphia Flyers will look to extend their winning streak on Saturday against the Ottawa Senators.
The Flyers looked sharp against the Leafs, and while the win isn't exactly anything to gloat over, anytime a team scores 7 goals in one game, you know you're doing something right. Of course, the Flyers will face much tougher opponents in the playoffs, but it was still good to see the boys get the win.
The Senators are coming off of a pair of wins themselves, including a 6-4 win against the Winnipeg Jets, who are all but out of the playoff race at this point. Ottawa hasn't been a very dominant team this season, but they have found ways to win games and are deadlocked in a battle with Washington and Buffalo for a playoff spot.
For the remainder of the regular season, the Flyers will not have anymore "easy" games. While Ottawa currently sits at the 7th seed, one or two losses could take them out of the playoffs. Every game is crucial for the Senators right now, as they are fighting for their playoff lives. They will be firing on all cylinders, and the Flyers can ill-afford another slow, sloppy start to the game.
From there, the Flyers will travel to Pittsburgh to play the red-hot Penguins, followed by one last game against the New York Rangers, who have dominated the Flyers all season. After that, Buffalo comes to town in hopes of stealing two crucial points, securing a playoff spot for them. Then, it's back to Pittsburgh once more to conclude the regular season.
The two games against Pittsburgh are extremely crucial to the Flyers if they hope to get home-ice against the Penguins. Personally, I feel that it won't make much difference to the Flyers either way, as they've actually been a better road team this year. That said, it's always nice to have home-ice, especially in Philly.
There is, however, some good news. Ilya Bryzgalov, who has a chip fracture in his foot, is reportedly feeling much better, and looked sharp in drills at the morning skate on Friday. In addition to Bryzgalov, forward James van Riemsdyk, who has missed much of the season with a plethora of injuries, is reportedly progressing well and could be cleared to resume skating in about a week.
For more news, updates, and rumors on the Flyers, or any other Philly team, follow me on Twitter @ManayunkMike