Heading into the final five games of the season, it’s likely that the Flyers will miss the playoffs for the first time in six years. Instead of preparing themselves for Round 1 come the end of next week, they’ll likely be packing up their lockers at the Wells Fargo Center. And it’s a huge bummer. But in these last two games, Monday’s against Montreal and Tuesday’s against New York, the Flyers have reminded us why we love our team — something a fanbase surely appreciates after a season full of asking themselves that exact question.
The sudden good fortune of the Flyers is kind of an extra punch to the gut, though. While we want to see our favorite team doing well, it would’ve been nice to see that kind of effort and those results more often during the season. Maybe then, they wouldn’t be in their current position. Of course, injuries are to blame for some of the team’s problems. Or, most of them. However, it seems like the Flyers lose a player per game these days, and yet they’ve managed to play great hockey twice in a row. So it is possible.
The Flyers face the Devils tonight, a team that has gone winless in their last ten games. While the Flyers have been on a bit of an up, the Devils have been tumbling down. Both teams have a lot at stake and a lot to fight for in this game, and it should be a hard-fought and entertaining one, if nothing else. And if the Flyers can continue the miniature hot streak they have going, their playoff hopes will grow a little bigger.
But even if the Flyers don’t make the playoffs, watching them play like this during their final few games is a hell of a lot better than watching them completely fall apart. We’ve all been there before, when they give a game away and seem to all but completely give up, and we’re throwing things at the TV and yelling and left feeling generally disgusted. We might be disappointed to watch the Flyers play well now and have it all be for naught, but I’d rather be left feeling disappointed yet hopeful for next season rather than, well, nauseous.
While I secretly (well, not-so-secretly now) hope for a final game that somehow miraculously launches the Flyers into the postseason a la 2010, I know it’s not likely. However, if the Flyers go out in strong fashion, with the passion, integrity, and drive that we’ve come to expect from them, I can’t say I’ll be too disappointed, as disappointed as I would be if they just gave up.*
*Check back with me next week if they don’t make the playoffs. I may be clutching my Simon Gagne bobblehead and sobbing in the dark.