Philadelphia pulled within one point of Tampa Bay for the lead in the East with a 2-1 win over New Jersey on Saturday. It was the Flyers’ second win over the defending Stanley Cup champion Devils this week, helping Philadelphia open a healthy eight-point lead in the Atlantic Division.
“What I’m looking at is the highest possible seed in the conference,” Hitchcock said. “That’s vital.”
The Flyers, 4-1-1 in their last six games, are hoping to avoid being the next victim of the suddenly streaking Penguins.
Pittsburgh owns the NHL’s worst record, but has won four straight games, including a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night.
It’s the team’s longest winning streak in more than two years, dating to a six-game run from Jan. 17-26, 2002. The Penguins are 6-2-1 following an 18-game winless streak (0-17-0-1).
“When you hear a lot of the same things, whether its pregame shows or in the media about what you have to do to beat the Penguins, to just show up, believe me we’re all professionals,” Olczyk said.
“We deserve a little bit more. Forget me, my players deserve a lot more respect than that.”