A good night for the Flyers got even better when sagging Pittsburgh lost at Anaheim on Friday. Don’t look now, but the Flyers would have home-ice advantage in the first round if the playoffs started today.
“We’re starting to have that confidence that we can play with any team in the league,” Flyers captain Claude Giroux said. “And you know what? We’re still trying to get better as a team. We know we can get better, [but] we’re definitely looking up.”
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Up and at Washington, which leads the Flyers in the Metropolitan Division by three points. It’s the closest the Flyers have been since the first week of the season.
Philadelphia beat the Rangers on Friday, 5-2, as Giroux scored twice. A few hours later, Pittsburgh dropped its fifth in a row in regulation for the first time since 2011-12. They have eight goals in the five games. What in the name of Mario Lemieux is happening to the Penguins?
“Well, we’re not scoring goals," coach Mike Sullivan said afterward. "Obviously, it’s hard to win when you don’t put the puck in the net. Having said that, I don’t think it’s been from a lack of opportunities. The last couple of games we’ve had a significant amount of scoring chances, the puck hasn’t gone in the net. I don’t know that there’s a common denominator through the five games.”
There is. Losses. Sidney Crosby has just one goal during the slump and is -6. Pittsburgh wraps up its West Coast trip on Saturday at lowly San Jose at 10:30 p.m. The Penguins need a win in the worst way.
The Flyers, meanwhile, will have a brief practice on Saturday before heading to New York to again play the Rangers on Sunday (12 p.m., NBC).
Washington’s next game is Sunday at Minnesota. They host the Flyers, who have now won a season high five in a row, on Wednesday night.
“Guys want to win," Giroux said. “Everybody is buying in, and it’s making it a lot of fun.”