Flight Plan: Seven Games Left

Image Courtesy of Amy Irvin ( http://www.Facebook.com/38Photography )

The Philadelphia Flyers have seven games remaining in their 2013 season. Yesterday they lost to the Buffalo Sabres by a score of 1-0. They are not technically mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, but they will be this week with relative ease. Even if they win out, the Flyers would need all of the teams above them to lose just about every game. Four of the seven games on Philadelphia’s docket are this week against the Montreal Canadiens, the New York Rangers, the New Jersey Devils, and the Carolina Hurricanes. You can purchase tickets to all Flyers games here: http://www.tiqiq.com/nhl/philadelphia-flyers-tickets/?publisherid=1260333

Danny Briere made his return to the lineup yesterday and skated 18:51, registering three shots, and winning just 33.3% of his faceoff attempts.

Montreal Canadiens on 04.15.2013 at 7:30 PM in Montreal:

The Montreal Canadiens are 6-4-0 in their last 10 and are in second place in the Eastern Conference. One of those four losses was at the hands of the Philadelphia Flyers, but overall, Montreal has been one of the better teams in the NHL this year. They are led by defenseman P.K. Subban (11 goals, 23 assists) and winger Michael Ryder (16 goals, 18 assists) who have 34 points each. Max Pacioretty has 32 points (11 goals, 21 assists), Tomas Plekanec has 29 points (13 goals, 16 assists), and defenseman Andrei Markov has 26 points (eight goals, 18 assists). Netminder Carey Price played well enough early on to earn some rest of late as Peter Budaj has also been strong in net for the Habs. Price is 19-9-4 with a 2.36 goals against average, a .912 save percentage, and three shutouts to his credit. Budaj is 7-1-1, with a 2.16 goals against average, a .918 save percentage, and one shutout. Despite beating the Canadiens last time the two teams met, Montreal should come out with a much stronger effort this time and with the Flyers unable to match even the Buffalo Sabres’ work ethic yesterday, it’s hard to imagine that they would be able to compete with the Canadiens.

New York Rangers on 04.16.2013 at 7:30 PM in Philadelphia:

The New York Rangers own the very last Eastern Conference playoff spot with 46 points. They have one game in hand on the Winnipeg Jets, who are two points out of eighth and four points out of holding the top spot in the Southeast Division, which would catapult them to third place in the East. The Rangers are 6-3-1 in their last 10. Since the last time the Flyers and Rangers played, the Rangers acquired Ryane Clowe from the San Jose Sharks and parted ways with Marian Gaborik who struggled mightily for the Blueshirts this year. The Rangers are led by Rick Nash, who has 35 points (17 goals, 18 assists). Center Derek Stepan is following close behind with 34 points (14 goals, 20 assists). Beyond those two, no Ranger player has been very consistent, but once again they have received excellent goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist who is 19-14-3, with a 2.06 goals against average, a .928 save percentage, and one shutout. Martin Biron has played well in limited action, going 2-2-1, with a 2.32 goals against average, and a .917 save percentage. The Rangers will likely win this game as they have two of the three between these two teams this year, through hard work and fortuitous bounces.

New Jersey Devils on 04.18.2013 at 7:30 PM in Philadelphia:

The New Jersey Devils are in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, but have lost nine straight and only have 40 points. They would also need quite a bit of help to squeak into the playoffs at this point, and will likely be right with the Flyers in May. The Devils have had very little consistency from their players in putting the puck in the net. Only Patrik Elias (11 goals, 20 assists, 31 points) and Ilya Kovalchuk (10 goals, 17 assists, 27 points) have over 25 points this year, and Kovalchuk has been out for almost a month at this point. Martin Brodeur has been good this year, unsurprisingly, going 10-7-7, with a 2.30 goals against average, a .901 save percentage, and one shutout to his name. Johan Hedberg hasn’t had the best year going 5-9-3, with a 2.73 goals against average, a .886 save percentage, and one shutout. The Devils have won all three games in the season series this year, and have done so by way of a three goal margin on two occasions. New Jersey can sweep Philadelphia with a win on Thursday night.

Carolina Hurricanes on 04.20.2013 at 7:00 PM in Raliegh:

The Carolina Hurricanes are just one point below the Flyers in the standings with 36 on the year. The ‘Canes are led by Eric Staal with 44 points (16 goals, 28 assists), with Alexander Semin next in line with 38 points (10 goals, 28 assists). Jiri Tlusty has had a good year with 29 points (19 goals, 10 assists), and offseason acquisition Jordan Staal has 26 points (nine goals, 17 assists). Cam Ward has been out for a while with a knee injury, and in his place, Dan Ellis and Justin PetersE have just about split starts. Ellis is 4-8-1 on the year, with a 3.19 goals against average, a .902 save percentage, and one shutout while Peters is 4-8-0, with a 2.93 goals against average, a .905 save percentage, and one shutout. The Flyers have won both of the games these two teams have played this year, and can sweep Carolina if they can muster a win on Saturday.