Flyers, 76ers Going in Different Directions

In Philadelphia 76ers, Philadelphia Flyers on March 18, 2012 at 9:30 am

Last week in our review we stated that the Flyers needed 6 points for the week to stay in contention. We said they would split with the Devils and they did. We said they would beat the Islanders and they did. We also said they would beat the Bruins in Boston and they didn’t. They did get a point after the shoot out lose. That totals 5 points for the week. Honestly, the one point doesn’t hurt them that much overall at this point in the season, although all points are important. What do you mean the point isn’t that important? The Penguins presently hold the 4th spot in the Eastern Conference just 2 points behind the 1st seeded Rangers. The Pens are the hottest team in the league, winning their 11th in a row last night against the Devils. Sidney Crosby is back, again, and has recorded 5 assists in the 3 games since his return. The Flyers are the second hottest team in the East and presently hold the 5th spot in the playoff picture sitting 3 points behind the Pens going in to todays matchup at the Wells Fargo Center. Unless the Flyers or Pens can take over the first spot in the East they will play each other in the first round of the playoffs with the Penguins having the home ice advantage. That’s the worst scenario for both teams, especially the Flyers. With that said, the Flyers have 11 games remaining in the regular season, 3 against the Penguins and 1 against the Rangers so there’s a lot of hockey left and a lot can happen. Looking at the upcoming week for the Flyers, all four of their games are at home and they need to win them all. Seven points is a must this week but eight should be the goal. Obviously, todays game against Pittsburgh is the key to the week and a potential 4 point swing in the standings. Tuesday the Flyers host the Florida Panthers, Thursday the Washington Capitals and Saturday the Montreal Canadians. These are all games the Flyers should and must win.

The Flyers continue to get outstanding play from goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell, Wayne Simmonds and the defense. Bryz set the Flyers team record this week with 249 minutes, 43 seconds of scoreless hockey. In the month of March, Bryz now holds a 7-1 record, while stopping 226 of the 235 shots he’s faced, a 96.2% save percentage. Giroux continues to be a league leader in points and is a top candidate for the Hart Trophy as the league MVP. Giroux is presently 3rd in total points with 82, behind Evgeni Malkin, 87 points, and Steven Stamkos, 84 points. He is also 2nd in the league in assists with 56, trailing Vancouvers, Henrik Sedin by 1 assist. Hartnell is presently 6th in the NHL with 33 goals. The schedule is in the Flyers favor this week and they need to take advantage of it and earn the 8 possible points.

We felt that the 76ers needed to split the week this week. We didn’t expect them to beat Miami or Chicago but we did expect them to beat the Knicks and Pacers, they didn’t. After starting the week with a nice win at Madison Square Garden for their third straight win, things went bad from there. Indiana, Miami and Chicago are all quality teams and the 76ers couldn’t compete with them. They were blown out in Indiana, 111-94, allowing the second most points in any game this season. They were blown out again by the Heat, 84-74. Don’t be misled by the final score. The 76ers were down by 29 points in the 1st half. The Heat took their foot off the throttle or could’ve won the game by 40 points. On to Chicago, who played without their best player, reigning MVP Derrick Rose and the 76ers could not compete. They did have a halftime lead but got outscored 51-36 in the 2nd half.

The 76ers still hold a 1.5 game lead in the Atlantic Division over Boston and a 4 game lead over the Knicks. They are presently the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference, which they will maintain if they win the Atlantic. If Boston were to win the Atlantic the 76ers could drop down as far as the 7th or 8th seed and have to play Miami or Chicago in the 1st round of the playoffs. That isn’t the scenario they want.

The 76ers get a break this week with only three games, however, they are important. They open the week Monday at Charlotte against the last place Bobcats. They follow that with critical home games Wednesday against the Knicks and Friday against the Celtics. The 76ers must win all three games this week if they’re going to hold on to the Atlantic Division lead. There are 21games remaining in the regular season, these three are as important as any, as the 76ers try to regain some momentum and consistency going down the stretch.

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  1. It really is hard to tell where the Flyers are heading at this point. Sure they seem to shaken off all that losing they were doing and put together two good weeks. Yesterday’s game should not have been that hard for them considering Boston has been free fallen. Today should say alot about them in this playoff run. Pitts will be playing for the division and the Flyers should treat this game the same, no excuses.
    76ers are playing up to expectations so far this year and really can’t beat a good team. But with new owners and the feeling that they can and want to win, it can only get better. Should be interesting off season.

    • The Flyers are playing their best hockey of the season. They played well at Boston but didn’t win but got the point. Sunday was a big win against the Pens. Good time of the year to be playing well. I don’t like the 4-5 maych up with Pittsburgh but if it happens we need to be the 4 and at least have home ice. 76ers appear to be in over their heads right now. You have to beat somebody that’s good from time to time.

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