NBCSN continues its coverage of the 2013-14 campaign tonight when the St. Louis Blues host the Philadelphia Flyers at Scottrade Center at 8:00 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.
Before the Flyers last met the Blues on March 22, St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock suggested that the top contenders in the Eastern Conference should be nervous as he felt the Flyers looked like they would be “a bear in the playoffs.”
Philadelphia went on to earn a 4-1 victory over St. Louis to extend its winning streak to five games.
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The Flyers have gone 1-2-1 since that game, with their only victory being against the imploding Toronto Maple Leafs. Meanwhile, the Blues have won three of their last four contests.
Based on those records alone, you would assume that these squads’ momentum was shifting in different directions and Hitchcock’s warning to teams like the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins — both of which recently beat Philadelphia — was becoming outdated. That’s not the case.
Philadelphia hasn’t been winning, but the team’s morale remains high.
“At this time of year sometimes it doesn’t matter — the result. It’s just how you feel as a team, how you played as a team. And I think we’re pretty happy with how we played,” Flyers captain Claude Giroux told CSN Philly after his team’s 4-3 shootout loss to Boston.
By contrast, Hitchcock isn’t comfortable with how his team has done lately.
“I think what I’m troubled by and I’d like to see changed is that we’re in the 40-50 minute range for hockey, not the 60-minute,” Hitchcock said on Monday, per the team’s website. “We were great against Toronto, went to sleep for 10 minutes, game on. we were asleep for 10 minutes against Minnesota, then game on. You all know what the playoffs are like, you can’t go asleep for 10 minutes. It’s game over, not game on.”
St. Louis has secured its postseason berth and Philadelphia is also a safe bet to advance, so to a large extent, this game is about msetting the tone these teams are striving for going into the playoffs. At the same time, the two points at stake have plenty of meaning as the Flyers fight for the second seed in the Metropolitan Division and home ice advantage in the first round while the Blues compete for the Presidents’ Trophy.