Win and they’re in. That’s the story tonight for the Philadelphia Flyers as they visit Florida to take on the woeful Panthers.
For the Flyers — who still have four games left on their schedule, including tonight’s — clinching a playoff spot at anytime this season wasn’t looking too likely after they got off to a 1-7-0 start. Head coach Peter Laviolette had already been fired after just three games, with Craig Berube taking over behind the bench.
Philadelphia went through another tough stretch in December, leading owner Ed Snider to suggest more changes could be coming. General manager Paul Holmgren appeared to be very much on the hot seat.
But since blowing a 4-1 lead to the Capitals on Dec. 15, the Flyers have gone an impressive 26-14-5. While it hasn’t been all roses for Philly in the New Year, it’s been a lot better than it was looking in October.
“It’s a special time for us,” said Flyers captain Claude Giroux. “We want to make sure we get in tonight. We need to focus on how we play. After tonight’s game, we want to be a better team than before.”