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"All Geeked-Up for the Deadline..."
Newtown Square, PA • United States • 45 Years Old • Male
"Vulgare proverbium est, quod nimia familiaritas parit contemptum"
Familiarity breeds contempt

It doesn't take a medium or a seance to know that coming away with points on a nightly basis during the final six weeks of regulation games is of paramount importance. The race to the playoffs in the Eastern Conference is in full sprint and the bell lap that is the month of March began this weekend.

Play well and you punch your ticket. Play poorly and end up with your noses pressed against the glass looking in. Even with the Flyers' near historic slump, they sit in the thick of the playoff hunt in 8th place in the East. The difference between 6th seed (Boston) and 8th seed (Flyers) is two points. The race is that close and the stakes are that high. The age old adage that familiarity breeds contempt could have been penned about the 2008 race to the NHL playoffs in the East. If playing the same teams over a short period of time might cause a little friction, then things are going to get really personal over the next few weeks.

The Flyers began the sprint to the playoffs Saturday afternoon with a 4-1 beating of the New York Islanders at the Palace of Gloom on the Island. The Flyers were victorious in this very important game with equal measures of hard work, skill and luck. Mike Knuble scored twice and put some pressure on the idle Buffalo Sabres as the Flyers picked up their 73rd point. The Flyers will see the Fishsticks three more times in the next 16 games, including a home tilt next Saturday night. The Flyers were the more desperate team and got two VERY important points.

Yesterday, the Flyers lost in a shootout to the Blueshirts in Manhattan during a bizarre game that had both starting netminders hitting the showers before the second period was 2 minutes old. The Orange and Black scored four goals for the second game in a row but had disastrous lapses of judgment with poor defensive play and unnecessary penalties coupled with an off night for Antero Niittymaki. That being said, the Flyers got the all important overtime loss point. While I do not agree with any losing team getting a point under any circumstances, it is in the rules and you have to take advantage of those rules. The Flyers did. Because of that, the Flyers cannot lose their 8th seed when they play the Sabres on Tuesday.

The Buffalo Sabres, the Flyboys' Tuesday night rematch, lost a key game to the Detroit Red Wings tonight snapping the Wings' worst losing streaks in years. The 4-2 loss to the Wings ensured that Buffalo would make up no ground on the Flyers, who will have a three point cushion when they take on the Sabres.

The Flyers had a successful weekend by taking 3 out of 4 possible points and have a somewhat tenuous hold on the 8th and final spot. The significance of Sunday's OTL point, as the Flyers head back to the Wachovia Center to face Buffalo, shows how tight the race in the East actually is. This is the time when the hot play of Jeff Carter, and to a lesser degree Scottie Upshall and Mike Knuble, is not only timely but also essential. Skill players need to be skillful, role players need to understand and execute their duties and goalies need to step up and shut the other team down. Marty Biron has played MUCH better recently and has seemingly grabbed the reins. It would be a crime for him not to get the start against Buffalo when the boys get back into town.

The Flyers will match up against our dangerous in-state rivals, the Penguins, three more times in the coming weeks. They will also rematch against our neighbors from Long Island three more times. The Flyers will have two more chances to redeem themselves against the Blushirts. We will have two more cracks at the enigmatic Toronto Maple Leafs and the always frustrating New Jersey Devils. Sprinkle in single contests against Tampa Bay, Atlanta and Boston and it makes for some interesting plot lines. The rematch against Buffalo will be a calling card game, no question. The Flyers' grasp of the 8th and final spot in the East will either be cemented with a victory on Tuesday or imperiled with a revenge loss. This is the time when the competitive juices really begin to boil. There is no looking back, no looking ahead...just the next game on the schedule. This is playoff hockey before the playoffs begin.

General George S. Patton, played superbly by George C. Scott, mused about the nature of battle, "I love it. God help me I do love it so. I love it more than my life." If Patton were alive today...he would have Center Ice.

"Vulgare proverbium est, quod nimia familiaritas parit contemptum"

Thanks for reading...

Filed Under:   Sabres   Biron   Islanders   SYF   Carter   Knuble   Flyers  
March 3, 2008 3:22 PM ET | Delete
Great read.
March 3, 2008 3:44 PM ET | Delete
You certainly put these last few weeks of the Flyers' reg season into perspective. Good job and classy presentation.
March 3, 2008 6:41 PM ET | Delete
...but when you reach your hand into a pile of gooo... that 5 minutes ago was your best friend's face.., you'll know what I'm talking about. Come on Philly, put these chumpy Sabers outta their misery Tuesday, IN REGULATION!! How cool, if unlikely, would a Philly/Boston conference finals be? Just an estimated prophecy. Always a pleasure SYF.
March 3, 2008 7:06 PM ET | Delete
as long as you have the Eyes of the World to see such a great hockey sight as Boston/Philly. Thanks for the tasty treat Gforce!!! Keep your stick on the ice and roll away the dew....SYF
March 4, 2008 7:48 AM ET | Delete
Good job SYFI agree the battles in th trenches are nice. I just don't want the Devils in the first round pretty please....
March 4, 2008 10:26 AM ET | Delete
Agreed. I would take the Habs twice on Sunday over the Devs. Marty just kills us. Thanks Nic! SYF
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