BUFFALO _ So it has come down to this: The Flyers will win their first Atlantic Division title since 2004 _ and wrap up the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference _ if they can beat the lowly New York Islanders at the Wells Fargo Center in Saturday night's season finale.
Admit it. Before the season, if you were given that scenario, you would have taken it in a second, especially when you consider the Flyers needed a shootout win over the Rangers just to sneak into the playoffs last year.
There are two ways to look at Saturday’s showdown.
The optimistic view: The Flyers are in great shape. They are 5-0 vs. the Islanders this season _ and they have 31 more points than New York. Oh, and the Isles’ power play is a pathetic 1 for 21 against the Flyers this season. The Flyers’ PP is 4 for 16 against New York.
The pessimistic view: The Flyers can't get out of a rut. They have lost five straight overall, and six in a row at home. They haven’t won at home in more than a month, and they are due to get beaten by a pesky Isles team that took Pittsburgh to a shootout before losing, 4-3, on Friday.
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With the Flyers 4-3 OT loss in Buffalo Friday, Washington clinched the East title.
The Flyers will finish second in the East if they beat the Islanders. They are tied with the Penguins atop the Atlantic, but the Flyers have the tie-breaker and would win the division with a victory Saturday.
It is still possible for the Flyers to finish second, third or fourth in the East. They will face either Tampa Bay, Montreal or Buffalo in the first round.
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Breakaways. Danny Briere now has a career-high 33 goals…..The Flyers won 64 percent of the faceoffs. Mike Richards won 10 of 13, but he was minus-2 in the game….Claude Giroux posted his 51st assist, the most by a Flyer since Peter Forsberg had 56 in 2005-06…..Buffalo blocked 17 shots _ 10 more than the Flyers.
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