What a weird season.
The excitement in the pre-season about the youth that was going to be lineup, and some of the frustration about the chances that those young guys were (or weren’t) getting. The incredible season by the team’s best players, and the forgettable efforts by some of the guys behind them. The 10-game losing streak that threatened to submarine things before the season really got going. The rally back in January and February that saw the Flyers leading the Metropolitan Division as recently as the trade deadline. The consistent inability to have a healthy goaltender. The drop down the standings in March that put a seemingly-locked-up playoff position in jeopardy.
All of this for a team that, honestly, is probably pretty average. We put ourselves through a lot this season, folks. It’s been a roller-coaster, with such rapid shifts between the highs and lows that it’s been hard to believe at times. And so, in that sense, it’s somewhat fitting that this team needed to win on the last day of the regular season to clinch its spot as the final team to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference.
Boy, did they do that.
On the strength of a great top-to-bottom effort, particularly in a dominant second period that saw the Flyers outscore the visiting New York Rangers 3-0 and outshoot them 18-5, the Flyers got the Game 82 point(s) they needed with a 5-0 victory. Leading the way, of course, was Claude Giroux, who posted his first career regular-season hat trick.
The win eliminates the Panthers and puts the Flyers back into the playoffs after missing them last season.
There’s a lot to be said here — about this ridiculous season, about the Hart Trophy-worthy campaign by its captain, about today’s game in particular, and about so much more. That all will be said at some point. And we’ll have to keep an eye out on tonight’s action, as the outcome of the Devils’ and Blue Jackets’ respective games will decide where the Flyers are headed to begin the playoffs.
But for now, let’s celebrate. We’ve earned it.
Recap and observations will be forthcoming. Until then, feel free to be joyful in the comments.