The Philadelphia Flyers are probably going to make the playoffs, but it’s not the safe bet it was looking like just a couple weeks ago. Going into the month, the Flyers had a 34-19-10 record, but now they’re sitting at 35-25-11 after a 5-3 loss to Columbus last night.
Currently the Flyers still hold the third spot in the Metropolitan Division, but just four points separate them and the Florida Panthers, which don’t occupy a playoff spot, but have 77 points in 68 contests after earning a 3-0 win over Boston on Thursday. So if the Flyers don’t right their ship soon, they’ll be in a lot of trouble.
As it stands, the Flyers' decision to acquire Petr Mrazek from Detroit hasn’t been paying off lately. You can’t blame Philadelphia for acquiring a goaltender after losing both Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth to injuries, but Mrazek has looked ugly during the Flyers’ recent slump with a 1-5-1 record, 4.04 GAA, and .863 save percentage in seven March starts. They need him to bounce back soon.
This is all happening while Claude Giroux continues to perform at an elite level. He’s recorded a point in all eight of the Flyers’ March games and has scored a goal in each of his last three contests. He’s been doing his part, but lately Philadelphia hasn’t been able to take advantage.
The Flyers’ next chance to turn things around will be on Saturday against Carolina.
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TORONTO 5 BUFFALO 2
James van Riemsdyk scored twice and registered an assist. He’s up to 31 goals and 47 points in 70 games.
Patrick Marleau found the back of the net and recorded an assist for Toronto. He has 23 goals and 40 points in 71 contests.
Curtis McElhinney kicked out 38 of 40 shots Thursday night. He improved to 9-4-1 with a 2.25 GAA and .931 save percentage in 15 games.
At the other end of the ice, Robin Lehner stopped 34 of 38 shots. He has a 14-25-9 record, 2.93 GAA, and .911 save percentage in 51 contests.
Sam Reinhart scored a goal for the Sabres. It was his 18th marker and 39th point in 70 games.
WASHINGTON 7 NY ISLANDERS 3
Surprisingly, Alex Ovechkin didn’t account for any of the Capitals’ seven goals. He did get an assist though, which gives him 75 points in 70 games.
One player that did find the back of the net though was T.J. Oshie. In fact he scored twice, which has to be a huge morale boost for him because coming into this contest he had just one goal in his previous 33 games. With his latest markers, he has 14 goals and 38 points in 64 contests.
Dmitry Orlov found the back of the net and recorded a pair of assists. The Capitals blueliner has nine goals and 28 points in 70 games.
Ryan Pulock had a goal and an assist for the Islanders. He’s up to seven markers and 22 points in 56 contests.
Philipp Grubauer turned aside 35 of 38 Islanders shots. While he got a lot of help from the Capitals’ offense, it’s worth noting that the Islanders did outshoot Washington in every period in this contest and Grubauer still, for the most part, held down the fort.
Christopher Gibson got the start for the Islanders, but he was pulled after stopping just seven of 12 shots. Jaroslav Halak came into the game halfway through the second frame and saved eight of nine shots.
COLUMBUS 5 PHILADELPHIA 3
Cam Atkinson was the hero on Thursday with a hat trick. He’s up to 16 goals and 33 points in 55 games, though that’s of course a far cry from his 2016-17 finish of 35 goals and 62 points. The silver lining is that he has been hot lately with 12 points in his last 10 contests.
That helped Sergei Bobrovsky earn his fourth consecutive victory. The Blue Jackets goaltender stopped 27 of 30 Flyers shots.
Claude Giroux found the back of the net for the Flyers. That extended his goal scoring streak to three games and his point streak to eight contests.
David Savard registered a pair of assists for Columbus. The defenseman has four goals and 15 points in 70 games.
PITTSBURGH 5 MONTREAL 3
As good as Antti Niemi has been with Montreal, he ultimately couldn’t get revenge on the Penguins for waiving him earlier in the season. He did stop 34 of 38 shots though in the losing effort.
Pittsburgh forward Evgeni Malkin found the back of the net and recorded an assist. The goal was Malkin’s 40th of the season. He ranks third in the goal scoring race behind Alex Ovechkin and Patrik Laine.
Patric Hornqvist scored two goals and registered an assist for the Penguins. That gives him 22 markers and 39 points in 60 games this season.
Tristan Jarry kicked out 17 of 20 Canadiens shots. He has a 14-6-2 record, 2.77 GAA, and .908 save percentage in 26 games.
Alex Galchenyuk assisted on two of Montreal’s three goals. He’s up to 16 goals and 44 points in 71 games.
FLORIDA 3 BOSTON 0
James Reimer posted a 46-save shutout over the Boston Bruins. He improved to 17-13-5 with a 3.06 GAA and .910 save percentage in 37 games.
Torey Krug led the Bruins with eight shots against Reimer. That’s the third-most shots he’s had in a single game this season.
Anton Khudobin stopped 25 of 28 Bruins shots. He has a 15-6-4 record, 2.50 GAA, and .917 save percentage in 27 games.
Aaron Ekblad scored the first and therefore game-winning goal. It was his 14th marker and 30th point in 68 games.
Nick Bjugstad found the back of the net and registered an assist for the Panthers. He has 16 goals and 42 points in 68 contests.
COLORADO 4 ST. LOUIS 1
Mikko Rantanen netted a pair of goals and recorded two assists. He’s up to 25 goals and 74 points in 69 games.
Nathan MacKinnon scored two goals and registered an assist for the Avalanche. That gives him 35 goals and 85 points in 62 games in 2017-18.
Semyon Varlamov stopped 44 of 45 St. Louis shots. He has a 20-13-6 record, 2.76 GAA, and .917 save percentage in 44 games.
Joel Edmundson accounted for St. Louis’ lone goal. It was his seventh goal and 16th point in 57 games.
Jake Allen stopped 19 of 22 shots last night. He has a 21-21-2 record, 2.76 GAA, and .907 save percentage in 48 contests.
WINNIPEG 6 CHICAGO 2
Just as Washington had a big offensive night without Ovechkin scoring, Patrik Laine didn’t find the back of the net in Winnipeg’s blowout win. That said, Laine also had an assist, so his point streak has been extended to 14 games. That’s the longest point streak for a teenager in NHL history.
Kyle Connor found the back of the net twice for Winnipeg. He’s up to 25 goals and 44 points in 65 games.
Bryan Little had a goal and an assist last night. The Jets forward has 14 goals and 39 points in 71 contests.
Connor Hellebuyck turned aside 25 of 27 Blackhawks shots. With that, he has a 36-11-9 record, 2.35 GAA, and .935 save percentage in 59 contests.
Brandon Saad found the back of the net for Chicago. That gives him 16 goals and 30 points in 71 contests.
NASHVILLE 3 ARIZONA 2
Kevin Fiala scored the game-winning goal and registered an assist. He’s up to 23 goals and 45 points in 68 games.
Kyle Turris found the back of the net and recorded an assist for the Predators. That gives him 13 goals and 42 points in 64 contests.
Pekka Rinne stopped 32 of 34 Coyotes shots. He’s now won 10 consecutive games and has surrendered just 18 goals over that span.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored a goal for the Coyotes. It was the defenseman’s 11th goal and 36th point in 70 games.
Darcy Kuemper kicked out 26 of 29 shots on Thursday. He has a 2-3-1 record, 2.68 GAA, and .904 save percentage in six starts since being acquired by Arizona.
LOS ANGELES 4 DETROIT 1
Anze Kopitar led the charge with a goal and three assists. He has 29 goals and 80 points in 71 games.
Drew Doughty assisted on three of the Kings’ four markers. That gives him nine goals and 51 points in 71 contests.
Gustav Nyquist accounted for Detroit’s lone goal. It was his 18th goal and 33rd point in 70 games this season.
Jared Coreau kicked out 18 of 21 Kings shots. He’s now started in three games this season and unfortunately he hasn’t won any of those contests.
At the other end of the ice, Jonathan Quick turned aside 20 of 21 shots. He improved to 28-5-2 with a 2.41 GAA and .923 save percentage in 55 games.