The Flyers’ chances of making the playoffs have dropped below 1 percent, so they are playing the last eight games for pride and for jobs next year.
And, for some players, for the chance to show they should not have their contracts bought out after the season.
“You know, we have to continue to do our job as professional hockey players. That’s all,” goalie Ilya Bryzgalov said when asked if it was difficult to get motivated for the final eight games.
The Flyers, coming off Thursday’s 3-1 loss to fading Ottawa, have lost three straight and fallen seven points out of a playoff spot. Their playoff chances are at 0.9%, according to sportsclubstats.com. They were at 4.2 percent before Thursday’s defeat.
“Obviously, we’re not happy with the situation we’re in now. Our job is to win games,” captain Claude Giroux said after Friday’s practice in Voorhees. “It’s tough already that we’re not making the playoffs. We’re doing whatever we can to get some wins here.”
Someone asked winger Scott Hartnell if he thought the Flyers were playing like they didn’t care.
“If people think we don’t care, if writers think we don’t care, they’re obviously in the wrong business,” Hartnell said. “I can’t sleep at night _ last night _ just because of plays you missed or something you didn’t do. I had a shot, point-blank, with eight minutes left and (Brayden) Schenn passed it to me and I just missed it. Last year, with practices, I never missed that shot. I’d at least get good wood on it. It’s frustrating.”
The Flyers (17-20-3) will play in Buffalo (16-19-6) Saturday at 3 p.m., and veteran forward Danny Briere will return from a concussion that has sidelined him for the last 10 games.
They have managed just one goal in each of their last three games, and they have not played with a desperation level usually displayed by playoff-hungry teams.
“We have to create more traffic to the net, and support each other better,” Giroux said. “If we do that, I think we’ll score more goals.”
The Flyers have had little sustained offensive zone time in the last three games. They 0 for 13 on the power play in their last five games, which has killed their offense because their five-on-five production is 28th in the 30-team NHL.
They hope Briere, concussed during a March 23 practice, can provide a spark.
“I feel I’m ready to go. I have no worries,” said Briere, who was on the second power-play unit at Friday’s practice. “I’m not going to hold back. I haven’t played in a couple weeks, and hopefully it won’t be too much of a challenge getting my game back. But as far as the head goes, there’s no worries there.”
Before being injured, Briere was goal-less in his last 13 games.
Contact Sam Carchidi at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter @BroadStBull.