The Philadelphia Flyers have 25 points in 27 games, sitting three points out of the eight seed with the New York Rangers (24 games) and four points out of the seven seed (26 games).
Things are dire, but not insurmountable for a team many pegged as an Eastern Conference playoff team to start the season. But according to Flyers goalie/Cosmonaut Ilya Bryzgalov, if they don’t take two games from the Devils this week on Wednesday and Friday, Philly might as well pack up the tents.
"You win both games, and you tied with them and you have a good chance to continue to battle for the playoffs," he said after Tuesday's practice in Voorhees.
"You lose both games, you done. You done. That's it. This is it. This is probably reality. You'd be eight points behind ...and not many games to catch up. It would be very, very difficult. It's not going to depend on you (if you lose two), it's going to depend more on other teams than you. That's the importance of these games."
This follows Bryz’s assessment of the Flyers from March 5, after a loss to the Rangers:
"Not good," he said. "We're not good. We obviously not in the spot where we want to be and (if nothing changes) it's going to be more ugly. What else can I say? This is the reality."
Who knew Ilya Bryzgalov would be the realist for the Flyers?
He’s right: The Flyers are very close to having to rely on the kindness (or feebleness) of conference foes.
That’s the problem with trying to rally in the lockout-shortened season with an intra-conference schedule: No games in which, say, the Rangers don’t gain points against a Western Conference opponent. Every point the Rangers lose will be another Eastern Conference team’s gain.
As an aside: If we had told you the Flyers would be in danger of missing the playoffs in March, back when the season started, how many of you would have pinned it on Bryz?
Instead, with 26 starts in 28 games after Wednesday and a respectable 2.77 GAA behind a porous Flyers defense, he’s been the best player on the ice in some games.
And, apparently, he's been one of their most vocal leaders, too.
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