WASHINGTON –- The Flyers have been dominant at the Wells Fargo Center this season (23-5-4) and so-so on the road, so they obviously want to finish first or second in the Metropolitan Division and assure themselves of the home-ice advantage in at least the opening playoff round.
“A team that has it will say it’s really important,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “A team that doesn’t have it will say it’s not that big of a deal.”
The Flyers are in second place in the Metropolitan Division.
“I think all teams – Washington is no different than we are – are working to get that check mark by their name,” Vigneault said before the Flyers faced the host Capitals on Wednesday.
By a check mark, he meant teams were more worried about qualifying for the playoffs than the home-ice advantage.
“That’s the first goal every team has, and then obviously if you can get the home-ice advantage, you work for it," he said. "We’re going to get the check mark; we’re not there yet.”
The Flyers took a 15-15-3 road record into Wednesday.
The Flyers will finish one of their five remaining sets of back-to-back games when they host Carolina on Thursday.
The Flyers are 2-0-1 against the Hurricanes this season, beating them 4-1 and 5-3, and losing in overtime, 5-4.
Goalie Carter Hart will get the call Thursday. He defeated the Canes, 4-1, and stopped 33 of 34 shots on Nov. 5.
Hart is 18-2-2 at home with a 1.67 GAA and .941 save percentage this season.
The Hurricanes are three points out of a playoff spot and they have 18 games remaining, including four (four!) against Pittsburgh. Carolina has a difficult schedule as 12 of its games are against teams currently in a playoff spot.
Vigneault has emerged as a strong candidate for the Jack Adams Award, given to the league’s coach of the year. He won the award with Vancouver in 2006-07.
Asked Wednesday what winning that award meant as far as establishing credibility in his career, Vigneault declined to answer.
“At this time, I’m not going to spend any moment of my time worrying about my own legacy,” he said. “My present, my moment, is the Flyers. It’s the Flyers tonight against Washington and that’s where I’m concentrating on.”