Some may see it as bad luck to pick an opponent you'd like to face when the playoffs aren't guaranteed. With the uncertainty the Flyers have lovingly given us all season long, we could realistically finish anywhere from sixth place to tenth place at this point.
But, our team does hold their own destiny, so if they do wind up missing the postseason, it'll be because they blew it. And that means we can go ahead and blame them instead of blaming us for discussing potential playoff match ups.
Besides, we're not trying to breed a culture of mediocrity around here. Playoffs or bust, baby.
After the jump, we'll run down the possible opponents.
The Caps are obviously a reeeediculous team. There's no doubting that. But part of me wonders if perhaps R.J. Umberger had a point over the weekend, when he said the following to the Columbus Dispatch:
"I don’t think any team in the West would be overmatched by them. Because they play the wrong way. They want to be moving all the time. They float in their zone looking for breakaways and odd-man rushes. A good defensive team is going to beat them (in the playoffs). If you eliminate your turnovers and keep them off the power play, they’re going to get frustrated because they’re in their zone a lot."
The basic idea of what R.J. is saying here is that Caps just play the wrong brand of hockey to have playoff success. They don't pay much attention to defense, they leave opportunities for breaks in the other way, etc. These words angered a lot of Caps fans, including owner Ted Leonsis. We'll let you decide if the criticisms are valid or not.
It seems as though most Flyers fans hope that we draw the Devils in the first round. We've essentially them all season long, going 5-1 in the season series and looking mighty strong in each of the five wins. Plus, the Devils have been less than successful for most of the stretch run. Could Martin Brodeur be fatigued heading into the playoffs? Either way, he's looked terrible in just about every game against the Flyers this season.
The Sabres could certainly be a team that's built for the playoffs. They're very stingy defensively and they obviously have world-class goaltending. I think the Sabres are flying under the radar a bit, especially in the psyche of the Flyers fan, simply because we think about New Jersey, Pittsburgh and Washington so often.
What more is there to say here? The case for playing Pittsburgh is obvious: you want to beat the team that's beat you twice. The case for not facing Pittsburgh is just a obvious: they've beaten you twice in a row in the playoffs.
Theoretically, the Flyers could play Ottawa, but the chances of that happening are rather slim. It appears that the Sens are locked in the fifth seed regardless of what happens around them.