Flyers, Wild clinch spots in 2014 playoffs

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When October ended, the Philadelphia Flyers were in a grim place with a new head coach. Now they’re headed to the 2014 playoffs after clinching a postseason berth by hanging on against the Florida Panthers 5-2 on Tuesday.

At different early points in the 2013-14 campaign, the Flyers were 1-7-0 and 4-10-1, but now they find themselves at 41-29-9 with a chance to even gain home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The New York Rangers won their game as well on Tuesday, and while they have two more points and tiebreaker advantages, Philly could steal things with a game in hand and a strong finish.

Either way, the Flyers shouldn’t be taken lightly, at least as long as they employ a dangerous set of forwards headlined by captain Claude Giroux. Fittingly, Giroux had a strong night for the Flyers, scoring two goals to push his season total to 27. The Flyers also benefited from a strong night from Steve Mason, who stopped 38 out of 40 shots to earn his 33rd win of the season.

The Flyers didn’t take long to celebrate tonight’s success, either:

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Update: the Minnesota Wild clinched the top wild card spot with a 4-3 shootout win against the Boston Bruins.