Despite suffering a 4-3 overtime loss to the hands of the Toronto Maple Leafs in last night’s contest, the Philadelphia Flyers still managed to escape the Air Canada Center with a much-needed point. While every team in the current Eastern Conference playoff race is in need of points, it’s quite possible that no team needs the points more than the Flyers, and it’s for a number of different reasons.
First and foremost, they currently hold a playoff spot. It would be one thing if they were a team on the outside looking in, but to lose a spot they already have would be devastating for the orange and black. With the loss to Toronto, Philly now holds a mere two-point lead over the ninth-seeded Detroit Red Wings with just 18 games left to play.
The amount of pressure to perform in the city of Philadelphia is probably the greatest in sports. Fans around the Delaware valley are short-tempered, and with a team as talented as the Flyers, people expect them to make the playoffs. Not doing so would not only hurt the overall reputation of the team — merchandise sales could be risked, viewership will drop and quite frankly, it would be one messy situation.
Head coach Craig Berube has been solid in his role as interim coach for the fly guys, but he hasn’t secured anything for himself just yet. So far, he’s probably earned himself a contract, but should he and his squad fall off and miss out on the playoffs for a second season in a row, he could be next in line to get chopped.
Every team in the race needs points — it just means a little more to the Flyers. It’s been four seasons since the Flyers last made a decent playoff run, and they’ll look to avert another missed opportunity by scrambling for as many points as possible down the stretch.