Take the 2012 playoffs, for example: the Flyers barged into the postseason and played one of the most entertaining playoff series in recent memory against the Pittsburgh Penguins. They won in six games, and we all laughed and had a good time and were thinking about bigger quests.
And then the got-damn New Jersey Devils came along, completely out of nowhere, and kicked the Flyers out of the playoffs in five swift games. The Devils are the perennial thorn in our side, and given that they have lost 10 straight and the Flyers are coming off of a big win against their biggest rival, will surely win tonight.
This is the fate of the world.
No — despite my crippling pessimism over the 2016-17 Flyers, this is a game the team should absolutely win tonight up in Newark against an atrocious Devils club. The cruel reality of it is that with a win and some help elsewhere, the Flyers could be within four points of the postseason. (They’d need a Toronto win against Tampa Bay and a Winnipeg win against the Islanders, both in regulation, for that to happen.)
Steve Mason is going to start again, and while I’m pleased with that given that he is the better goaltender on the roster, I’m still a bit confused by Dave Hakstol’s thought process. (“I’m confused by Dave Hakstol” should go on my tombstone.) A week ago in Toronto, Hak said that he was starting Michal Neuvirth in a critical game because of the workload for each goalie. Now, Mason is starting in a back-to-back against one of the league’s worst teams, and in his third game in four days.
Whatever. That’s the world we live in. I’m guessing we’ll see the same lineup in front of Mason as we did last night against Pittsburgh, because I can’t imagine you’d mess with a lineup that just won a game 4-0 against one of the league’s best teams.
Backup goalie Keith Kinkaid will go for New Jersey, more evidence that this thing is going to be what snaps their losing streak.