Flyers' faint hopes still alive after two straight wins

Zac Rinaldo
Zac Rinaldo
Posted: April 19, 2013

Consecutive wins have revived playoff talk for the Flyers. But they still face long odds in earning one of the eight Eastern Conference spots.

Coach Peter Laviolette accurately described the Flyers' plight after Tuesday's 4-2 win over the New York Rangers.

"We're in a hole," he said. "We put ourselves here, and we accept that."

And it's a huge hole. But the Flyers remain alive.

The Rangers own the eighth and final spot with 46 points. The Winnipeg Jets also have 46 points but, like the Flyers, have played 43 games, one more than the Rangers. At 41 points, the Flyers are five behind both teams.

"Of course we'd love to have help from the other teams, but games like [Tuesday's] are the games you have to win, [against] teams that are in the same race," Flyers captain Claude Giroux said. "We just have to focus on us and just try to get better."

In the last two games, the Flyers have outscored the Montreal Canadiens and the Rangers, 11-5. The Flyers suffered their first four-game regulation losing streak of the season in their previous four games.

In those four games, the Flyers scored a total of three goals. And during that streak, the Flyers lost to two teams, Ottawa and Winnipeg, that entered the contests having lost five in a row.

After playing at Montreal on Monday and New York on Tuesday, the Flyers had a day off on Wednesday.

The odds of making the postseason aren't in the Flyers' favor. But in this unpredictable, shortened NHL season, anything is possible. For now, the Flyers hold on to hope, which is what a two-game winning streak will do.

With five games left, the maximum number of points the Flyers could earn is 51. While New Jersey and Buffalo could also factor into the final spot, here is a look at how the Flyers, Rangers, and Jets stack up for the rest of the season:

Flyers (41 points). They have five games left: home against New Jersey on Thursday, at Carolina on Saturday, home against Boston on Tuesday, home against the Islanders next Thursday, and at Ottawa on April 27.

Thursday's game at the Wells Fargo Center against New Jersey is looked at as a "losers walk" matchup. The Devils are one point behind the Flyers but have played one less game. Like the Flyers, few will count out the Devils until they are mathematically eliminated, although they are 0-6-4 in their last 10 games.

Rangers (46 points). They have six games left: home against Florida on Thursday, at Buffalo on Friday, home against New Jersey on Sunday, at Florida on Tuesday, at Carolina next Thursday, and home against New Jersey on April 27.

Among the remaining games, the Rangers play the worst team in the conference (Florida) twice and the second-worst (Carolina) once. In addition, two home games against New Jersey should have a major impact.

Jets (46 points). They have five games left: home against Carolina on Thursday, home against the Islanders on Saturday, at Buffalo on Sunday, at Washington on Tuesday, and home against Montreal next Thursday.

Contracts for two

The Flyers agreed Wednesday to two-year contract extensions with forwards Zac Rinaldo and Jay Rosehill. No financial terms were immediately released.

The 22-year-old Rinaldo is not expected to return in the regular season because of a high-ankle sprain. He was paid $544,444 this year.

Rosehill, 27, is an enforcer who has played seven games with the Flyers since being acquired from Anaheim. He already has 47 penalty minutes, which is fourth on the team. Rosehill is earning $550,000 this year, and his extension likely means the end of Jody Shelley, whose contract expires at the end of this season.

Notes

The Flyers returned 21-year-old defenseman Matt Konan to the Adirondack Phantoms. Konan did not play in Tuesday's win over the Rangers after his call-up that day. . . . Canadiens forward Ryan White has been suspended for five games, without pay, for an illegal check to the head of Flyers defenseman Kent Huskins. The play occurred Monday in the Flyers' 7-3 win at Montreal. Under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, and based on his average annual salary, White will forfeit $18,581.10.


Contact Marc Narducci at mnarducci@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @sjnard.

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