So we're at the point in the Philadelphia Flyers' season where the biggest debate going on since Saturday afternoon had to do with whether or not the Flyers needed to lose this game in their quest for better draft odds or win this game because it's, well, you know, Pittsburgh.
This is what the season has come to. Win! No, lose! Lose this game! Pay attention to the odds! Win this game!
Ultimately, neither result could be viewed as problematic, but -- boy -- does a win against this stupid team still feel good. And, as has been custom over the past couple of years, Pittsburgh got shellacked, this time by a pretty downtrodden Philadelphia team that was recently eliminated from playoff contention altogether.
It was systematic. It was amusing. And -- for what may be one of the final times we have left to cheer about this team this season -- it reminded us that this team is weird. Over the past two months, the Flyers have pretty much taken care of business against the teams universally viewed as equal to or stronger in standing and talent. If the opponent is above them in the standings, the Flyers generally "show up", and teams out of the playoff picture seem to be this team's kryptonite.
That's weird. That's not how it's supposed to happen. This is hockey, however, and that's how it does happen. So all the Flyers are left to do is continually beat the Pittsburgh Penguins while teams like the Buffalo Sabres give them fits. This is why the team stands where it does in April.
But -- hey -- it's always good to step back from the microscope for a bit and realize, no matter the standings or draft odds or personnel or storylines, the Flyers beating the Penguins is something that should bring joy to your life in one way or another.
- Pittsburgh was pretty thin up front (Evgeni Malkin was ruled out after an earlier "maintenance day".), and the Penguins had to roll with five defensemen in the back, because who cares about the salary cap, right? Even so, one could argue the lineup the Flyers iced was just as barren (because they're bad, and that's it.). Battle of the shorthanded, this was.
- Aside from a sloppy opening seven/eight minutes, the Flyers had themselves pretty damn good first and second periods. The power-play sputtered at times, which generally happens when the team replaces the third-highest producing power play forward in the league for someone like Ryan White and plays a team that's pretty good on the penalty kill. If that's the team's biggest problem, though, odds are they're winning the game.
- The Flyers held the Penguins to two total scoring chances in the second period, a period in which the game was tied or within one goal for the entire 20 minutes. Two. Let's not forget the Philadelphia Flyers are essentially icing an AHL lineup on their backend. If Nick Schultz and the three musketeers can handle their own and Craig Berube can handle first change in Pittsburgh, then, uh.. I'd be worried, Penguins.
- The Flyers' official Twitter account was just owning people from Pittsburgh during intermissions, since apparently it's not enough for the team to do it to the Penguins game in and game out. Nobody in Pittsburgh is safe.
- Philadelphia has now played a team in playoff position 11 times over their past 21 games. They are 7-1-3. Want to know how many wins they have in the 10 games they've played non-playoff teams in that span? Zero. What the heck is going on?
- This feels like the first win I've recapped all season. Is it? I don't know. I don't really care (Okay, I kind of care.). Thanks, 'guins.
Comment of the night:
Three whole sentences without a typo. What’s next? -hezbemi
I wonder which person that was about...
If you're not satisfied with the season but don't want it to end (and want to be happy just one more time), you're in luck: the Penguins visit Philadelphia this coming Sunday. Oh, and there's also a game against the Hurricanes on Saturday. Whatever. We're almost through, folks. Go Flyers.