Three wins in their last four games aside, including overcoming a two-goal deficit this past Saturday to beat Winnipeg, there’s still much work to do for the Flyers.
That’s despite — or perhaps because — they’ve been at work more than anybody heading into Monday night’s game with James van Riemsdyk and the Maple Leafs.
Lounging on their sofas Sunday night watching the Oscars, the Flyers (9-10-1) fell out of one of those so-called “if the season ended today” playoff spots. It happened to be one of the few days this season they were idle, having not only played more than every NHL team, but a whopping five more than the Bruins. No wonder Ilya Bryzgalov, who has started 18 of 20 games, told a local radio station he was “exhausted.”
Eventually, it will all even out, particularly late in March when the Flyers have one game in eight days. Before that, there will be little rest for Peter Laviolette’s weary bunch, which welcomed back Scott Hartnell Saturday after the winger missed 16 games with a broken foot.
“I feel a little rusty, but I think the timing and stuff will come,” said Hartnell. “I was just happy to get through the game.”
The Flyers may get defenseman Andrej Meszaros back within a week, too, as the home stand continues. The Flyers play the Leafs Monday, followed by struggling Washington Wednesday and Ottawa Saturday. Coming off a week in which Jake Voracek posted four goals and seven assists to move into a tie for seventh in the league in scoring, they seem poised to pick up more ground.
Getting to .500 would be a start.
“You have to be so many games over .500 in order to make the playoffs and get a chance to compete for the Cup,” said Laviolette. “So we need to get there at some point. It’s good to be home here with some games and get some rest, and use that to our advantage.”
Or else they’ll have only themselves to blame.