Buzzing on Yahoo Sports:

Flyers clinch playoffs with win over Florida

The SportsXchange

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Philadelphia Flyers might have three more regular season games to play, but they left the BB&T Center Stanley Cup playoff bound Tuesday night.

The Flyers clinched their postseason spot in great style -- and with many pro-Flyer fans in attendance -- with a 5-2 win over the Florida Panthers in Sunrise.

A New Jersey Devils loss to the Calgary Flames on Monday night guaranteed that the Flyers (41-29-9) needed to only beat Florida to reach the postseason. The win gave Philadelphia a 2-1 record against the Panthers this season.

"I told the guys, 'You should be proud of yourselves,' said Flyers coach Craig Berube. "I mean they went through a lot and they battled hard all year. They're a good group of guys, good character, and they deserve a lot of credit for making the playoffs."

The Panthers (28-44-8) were without goalie Roberto Luongo, who was scratched with an upper-body injury. Goalie Dan Ellis (5-11-0) replaced him in the net.

"If it was a playoff game he would have played, but we just said he's not 100% so let's just go with the other guy," said Panthers coach Peter Horachek. "It's a muscular thing, so it's not going to be anything serious. It's not like he pulled it, just things are sore."

The first period was scoreless after a monumental effort by Ellis, who was on his toes during two Florida penalty kills, including for 1:40 when the Flyers had a five-on-three power play opportunity.

Ellis, however, could not contend with the Flyers when they came out flying in the second period, scoring three goals in the first half of the period.

"It was a good start, but in the second period I just let in four crap goals," Ellis said. "It's unacceptable, it's frustrating as (heck), you're one of the primary reasons for the loss. I take responsibility for that loss."

Center Vincent Lecavalier became the seventh Flyers player this season -- a league high -- with at least 20 goals. His 20th came at 2:02 of the second period.

Right winger Claude Giroux had two goals in the second to put his season total at 27 goals. He picked up his 26th at 6:29 and his 27th at 8:50 to give Philadelphia a 3-0 lead.

The Flyers are 20-2-1 this season when Giroux scores a goal.

"Just a couple of shots where I?was able to get open and shoot it on net," Giroux said. "Obviously those goals were huge for us to get the lead."

Center Sean Couturier increased the Flyers' lead to 4-0 with his 11th goal of the season at 15:03 of the second. Couturier had not scored in 18 games.

In the third, left winger Tye McGinn's fourth goal of the season came at 15:06 to make Philadelphia's victory even sweeter.

The positive note for the Panthers is they saved themselves from a shutout in the third period when defenseman Erik Gubrandson scored his third goal of the season at 1:14.

"That was a terrible second period," Gubrandson said. "If we expect to win games in this league you can't come out and play like that. That was an unacceptable period, we were lackadaisical, we didn't have the same effort level as we did in the third and first."

Center Jonathan Huberdeau, playing his first game since missing 11 with a concussion, scored his ninth goal of the season -- and first since Jan. 20 -- at 5:38 of the third.

Flyers goalie Steve Mason stopped 38 shots en route to his 33rd victory of the season. Mason won 31 of his last 48 games, with only 11 regulation losses during that stretch.

"It's a great accomplishment, but I think within this organization it's something that is expected," said Mason, of moving on to the playoffs. "This is just one goal that was achieved and now we have the bigger one.

"You see what the Flyers fan base brings every single game and it's an exciting thing to be a part of. There's a great atmosphere within the Wells Fargo Center and I'm sure come the first game of the playoffs it's going to be rocking."

NOTES: Panthers G Roberto Luongo was scratched with an upper-body injury Tuesday night. G Dan Ellis was in the net. ... LW John Huberdeau and RW Brad Boyes were back in the Panthers lineup on Tuesday. Huberdeau missed 11 games with a concussion. Boyes missed two games with an upper-body injury. .... The Panthers recalled C Drew Shore and reassigned RW Bobby Butler, after two games, to AHL San Antonio. Shore's now played in 65 games the past two seasons for the Panthers. ... Flyers RW Steve Downey was back in the lineup for the first time since sustaining an upper-body injury in the first 45 seconds of a game against St. Louis on March 23. ... The Flyers are the league leaders in the number of 20-goal scorers this season: RW Wayne Simmonds 26, C Claude Giroux 25, RW Matt Read 21, RW Jakub Voracek 21, C Braydon Schenn 20, LW Scott Hartnell (20). C Vincent Lecavalier joined his six teammates with his 20th goal of the season earned at 2:02 in the second period Tuesday.
Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Football
View Comments (0)