Outta’ Right Field: Playoffs? Flyers still alive in race

Flyers forward Ruslan Fedotenko scored the game-winning goal in the Flyers' 5-4 overtime win against the Washington Capitals on Sunday, March 31. (MCT)

Flyers forward Ruslan Fedotenko scored the game-winning goal in the Flyers’ 5-4 overtime win against the Washington Capitals on Sunday, March 31. (MCT)

At some point in time, we have all imitated the infamous Jim Mora press conference.

“Playoffs? Don’t talk about playoffs. You kidding me? Playoffs?”

That seemed to be the very concept following the Flyers. Don’t talk about the playoffs. Talk about the draft.

Then came this weekend’s games against the Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals. Suddenly, the Flyers are back in the playoff race.

Their emotional win over the Capitals on Sunday might be the spark to one final playoff push.

There are 13 games left in this shortened, 48-game season. The Flyers are currently four points out of the eighth and final playoff spot. They sit in 12th place.

If anything, the Flyers have used this homestand to completely erase all thoughts of the postseason, then build them back up. The five-game homestand closes on Wednesday night when the Flyers host the Montreal Canadiens. Much like Sunday’s game, especially late in the third period, the crowd should supply a playoff atmosphere.

That third-period energy from the Flyers on Sunday was a telling sign. Was Kimmo Timonen’s goal with 9.5 seconds left in regulation the goal that saved the season? Did Flyers fans suddenly believe in this team and everything that they have been saying to talk the talk?

Crowd support will be important down the stretch. Six of the Flyers remaining 13 games are on home ice.

Despite losing two important games early in the homestand to the Rangers and Islanders, the Flyers restored some faith in a late-season playoff push with their wins this weekend. Now they need to quickly figure out if their push is really going anywhere.

Back-to-back games on Wednesday and Thursday against Montreal and Toronto should determine that.

Don’t count the Flyers out yet and always remember what happened in 2010. On the season’s final day, the Flyers made the playoffs. That’s all it takes.

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