In the past couple years, the Philadelphia Flyers clinched the playoffs in the roulette wheel spin known as the shootout. That pattern would not carry on into this season, as the Flyers clinched a playoff spot in 2012 with a convincing 4-1 victory on home ice against the Montreal Canadiens. And while many palms will get sweaty over seeding, perhaps even mine included, but when it comes down to it, the Philadelphia Flyers will be in the 2012 playoffs for the 15th time in 16 years. And in the end, making the playoffs and having a shot at glory is all that matters.
Numerous thoughts about this game, so on to the bullet points.
- For all the talk about how Danny Briere elevates his game in the playoffs, this will only fuel the fire of those who believe it. In 30 games prior, he only had one goal, with that one being an empter netter. Tonight, with a playoff berth, Briere registered two power play goals against Peter Budaj.
- Under most circumstances, seeing the Pittsburgh Penguins score four goals against the Ottawa Senators is not good news. But when the Pens allow the Sens to score EIGHT in the same game the Pens score four, the end result is hilarious.
- Coatesy took a shot across the back from someone's stick early in the first period. Coatesy was able to shake it off and finish the broadcast as if nothing happened. What a gamer.
- Kubina is not someone who is known for fighting, but in the third period, he took on Josh Gorges and he made Josh Gorges his bitch. Gorges ate Kubina fists for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and maybe even a late night snack. Pavel Kubina does not always fight, but when he does, he makes Josh Gorges look meeker than Gary Bettman. He's the most interesting man in the world. Or something.
- There are times when I will admit when I am wrong. The Flyers clinched the playoffs last season on March 19. If at the beginning of the season you would have told me that the Flyers would clinch the playoffs this season on March 24, I would have told you that you are barking mad. The Flyers have gotten unfathomable production from rookies all season long, and Matt Read scoring the 4-1 dagger with a couple minutes left in regulation was in fact a fitting way to end it.
- How about Ilya Bryzgalov. Has any player gone from adored to despised to adored in a quicker time than Ilya Bryzgalov has? There is no rational justification for giving any goaltender the contract the Flyers played Ilya Bryzgalov, but it is refreshing to see him get credit for the top NHL goaltender that he is, as opposed to being seen as a bum. If you would have asked an average Flyers fan two months ago who they would prefer in net, Bryzgalov or Andrew Raycroft, how many of them would have said Raycroft? Don't answer that.
- Every time Kimmo Timonen scores a goal, an angel gets a wing. How incredibly awesome would it be to see Kimmo end his career hoisting Lord Stanley's Cup?
- Having a big win like this is fun, but unfortunately, the Flyers are still five points behind the Rangers for first place thanks to a late Rangers rally and the wonderful Bettman-implemented shootout. Gary Bettman can go fondle a goat.
- As Matt Read netted the fourth goal at the end of the game against the Montreal Canadiens to clinch a playoff berth, I could not help but think about what happened exactly 22 months ago tonight. Never forget.
- Bryzgalov let in only one goal on the evening, with that one goal being a Tomas Plekanec breakaway that Bryz was pretty much helpless to stop after a deflection on a Flyers shot bounced right to Lars Eller who found a streaking Plekanec splitting the Flyers defense and racing in alone in front of Bryzgalov. Whether in good times or in bad times, Bryz was essentially hung out to dry on that one.
- Since the end of the 2009-2010 season, including the playoffs, the Flyers have played the Canadiens 13 times. Of those 13 games, the Flyers have won 10 of them. It is one thing to dominate the last place New York Islanders over an extended period of time, it is another to dominate a team that as of the end of this season, will have been in the playoffs two of the last three years.
Song to sum up the game: "I Own You" by Shinedown