Scorching Flyers continue hunt for playoffs
The Philadelphia Flyers will attempt to remain in playoff contention when they host the Ottawa Senators on Monday.
The Flyers went on the road Saturday and defeated the New York Islanders 5-2. Philadelphia continued to stay hot, going 17-4-2 in their last 23 games.
This hot streak has closed the Flyers within five points of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 14 games left. It's almost miraculous that the Flyers have something to play for after such a sluggish start to the regular season.
"I think we're just playing fast. ... That's something we're focusing on," Flyers forward Nolan Patrick told reporters after scoring a goal against the Islanders. "We're confident now. We feel like we can play against anyone."
Jakub Voracek, who had been banged up, played as well as anyone and finished with two clutch assists in the three-goal win to keep the Flyers within striking distance of a playoff berth.
"We were really good defensively," Voracek told reporters. "We didn't give up much and we eliminated their speed through the neutral zone."
Goaltender Brian Elliott made 25 saves to earn the win. But the starting goaltender against Ottawa is unclear between Elliott, backup Cam Talbot and rookie Carter Hart.
Hart has been out with a lower-body injury since Feb. 21, but interim head coach Scott Gordon indicated that Hart could return to face the Senators.
James van Riemsdyk also scored against the Islanders and played a big role in the victory. The Flyers keep racking up wins and continue to sprint to the finish. They could wind up with a playoff berth.
"We just focus on the next game," van Riemsdyk told reporters. "It's easier that way."
Meanwhile, the reeling Senators are 1-9-1 in their last 11 games. They dropped a hard-fought 3-2 decision on the road to the Boston Bruins on Saturday despite goals from Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Brady Tkachuk.
Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson is winless in his last 13 appearances dating to Dec. 17 when it beat the Nashville Predators, 4-3, in overtime. That's a long stretch.
"I thought we probably deserved a better fate," Anderson told reporters after the one-goal loss to the Bruins. "We played a pretty good, solid game overall, and attention to details (cost us) near the end."
The Senators fell to 1-3-1 since firing head coach Guy Boucher last Friday and naming associate Marc Crawford interim head coach.
"In order to win, it's usually always about a series of habits," Crawford told reporters. "And on the final goal, we missed two assignments, we had a poor change, and those things can't happen."
Senators left wing Anthony Duclair was able to play after blocking a shot Thursday against the Islanders and missing Friday's practice with a lower-body injury.
In addition, defenseman Christian Jaros (hamstring) missed his third straight game and remains questionable against the Flyers.
The Senators will have daunting task going on the road to play the surging Flyers.
"If this team is to grow, it will grow when it stops making those fundamental mistakes," Crawford told reporters.
--Field Level Media
Updated March 10, 2019