This week, the buzz will be back. Twice.
"It'll be fun to have a game with the team that is right on our heels; we can use some of those," O'Donnell said. "We have Washington and Pittsburgh, and then Pittsburgh again and Boston next week - and even the Islanders [this Saturday's opponent] are playing well."
In the Eastern Conference, the Flyers have a two-point lead over second-place Washington and a six-point lead over Pittsburgh. The Flyers have played two fewer games than the Capitals, and one fewer than the Penguins, whom they are also trying to hold off in the Atlantic Division.
"This is just what this team needs now to get us back on track in the last 11 games," O'Donnell said.
The Flyers have struggled to hold leads recently, but they have still managed to pick up points in their last six games (4-0-2).
On Tuesday, they will face a Washington team that has won nine of its last 10. Pittsburgh has gallantly stayed within striking distance of the Flyers despite losing stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin to injuries.
"They're both playing pretty good hockey," Jeff Carter said of the Caps and Penguins. "They're right on our tails, so we're going to have to come out with our best games."
The Flyers are 2-0-1 against the Capitals and 3-1 against the Penguins this season. They haven't faced Washington since Jan. 18 and Pittsburgh since Dec. 14.
The Flyers are coming off Saturday's hard-fought, 3-2 shootout win in Dallas, which was down to four defensemen in the final 25 minutes because of injuries.
"I think we still had some lapses where we didn't do the right things, but it's definitely a step in the right direction," said Carter, the Flyers' top scorer with 33 goals.
Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who was solid in the first 65 minutes Saturday and spectacular in the shootout, figures to start Tuesday. The 22-year-old rookie is expected to get a majority of starts down the stretch, and it appears he will be the Flyers' primary playoff goalie.
Victories on Tuesday and Thursday would be major steps as the Flyers try to nail down the Eastern Conference regular-season title.
"We've always talked about [securing] home ice, all rounds starting in our building. Game 7, if it comes to that, is in our building," coach Peter Laviolette said. "That's why we continue to push - and we still have a lot of work to do."
Breakaways. The Flyers are 13-5-3 in games without injured defenseman Chris Pronger. . . . Defenseman Erik Gustafsson was loaned to the AHL Phantoms. Asked if Gustaffson would be recalled for Tuesday's game, GM Paul Holmgren said: "We will wait and see."
Contact staff writer Sam Carchidi at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/BroadStBull