Flight Plan: Final Week

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

Some years just do not go your way. This was the case for the 2013 Philadelphia Flyers. In a shortened year, the team couldn’t quite get their bearings early on, took a ton of injuries to key personnel, and never gained any footing as they struggled nearly the entire year to string together a winning streak or to meet the .500 mark. As such, they will not make the playoffs for the first time since 2007. This final week, the Flyers are set to take on the Boston Bruins, the New York Islanders, and the Ottawa Senators. You can purchase tickets to all Philadelphia Flyers games here: www.tiqiq.com/nhl/philadelphia-flyers-tickets/?publisherid=1260333

Boston Bruins on 04.23.2013 at 7:30 PM in Philadelphia:

The Boston Bruins have clinched a playoff berth and are one of three Northeast Division teams to do so to this point. Boston has plenty to play for since they have two games in hand over the Northeast leading Montreal Canadiens and are just two points back from the top spot. The Flyers were able to gut out a win over the Bruins the last time the two teams met nearly a month ago by a score of 3-1, and were shut out in the other contest. The B’s, as per usual, are not led by individuals but are a balanced team that plays great defensively and receives quality goaltending. Tuukka Rask has Vezina Trophy caliber numbers. He is 17-9-4, with a 2.02 goals against average, a .927 save percentage, and three shutouts. Brad Marchand is the top scorer for the Bruins with 34 points (17 goals, 17 assists) on the year, while Patrice Bergeron (10 goals, 21 assists) and David Krejci (nine goals, 22 assists) are only trailing by three points as thet have 31 points apiece. The Flyers could help to spoil the Bruins’ hopes at winning the Northeast division with a win, but can’t do it outright. If they play with the same intensity and passion they did the last time these teams took the ice, it should be a good game and they could get the win.

New York Islanders on 04.25.2013 at 7:00 PM in Philadelphia:

The New York Islanders are likely to make the playoffs for the first time since 2007 and can likely clinch a spot with a win over Philadelphia. They have a good young team, and their leading scorer in John Tavares has been their most valuable player all year. Tavares has 45 points (26 goals, 19 assists) to date. His regular linemates have done well too, as Matt Moulson has 42 points (15 goals, 27 assists) and Brad Boyes has 34 points (nine goals, 25 assists). Evgeni Nabokov has provided a steady hand in net. Nabokov is 23-11-5, with a 2.53 goals against average, a .909 save percentage, and three shutouts. The Islanders have won two of the three games in the season series between these teams. If the Flyers can shut down Tavares and his line, they have a good shot at winning this game.

Ottawa Senators on 04.27.2013 at 7:00 PM in Ottawa:

The Ottawa Senators have yet to nab one of the remaining playoff spots, but with four games remaining they should be in good shape with 52 points to do so. The Senators are led by Kyle Turris who has 26 points (10 goals, 16 assists). Veteran defenseman Sergei Gonchar has 24 points (two goals, 22 assists) in 2013, while captain Daniel Alfredsson has 23 points (10 goals, 13 assists) and rookie Mika Zibanejad has 20 points (seven goals, 13 assists). The Senators’ regular starter, Craig Anderson, returned earlier this month, after missing much of the year with a sprained ankle. Anderson owns an 11-7-2 record, with a 1.64 goals against average, a .944 save percentage, and three shutouts. Those are Vezina Trophy numbers, but as he was hurt for most of the season, it seems unlikely that he will receive even a nomination. Either way, the Senators will likely be coming to play on the last game of the season as it could come down to the final tilt against the Bruins in seeing whether they make the playoffs or not. The Flyers could potentially end the Sens’ playoff dreams with a win.