For Flyers, crunch time; Biron starting against Fla.

    If Kimmo Timonen had a choice, the Flyers' defenseman said he would rather face a playoff contender than an also-ran.

    Timonen should be happy, then, with the Flyers' remaining schedule: Three of the four games are against teams in the  playoff hunt.

     On Tuesday, the Flyers host Florida, a team tied for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot with the New York Rangers.

     “It’s easier to play teams that have something on the line, too,” said Timonen, whose team is tied with Carolina for the No. 4 seeding in the East. “Sometimes we play a team like Toronto or Ottawa , which have nothing to lose, (and) loose hockey players are dangerous players.”
    In their last three games, the Flyers were 1-1-1 against Toronto and Ottawa, teams that are out of the playoff picture.

    In addiiton to facing Florida, the Flyers have two games left against the Rangers and one against the lightweight Islanders.

   “We just have to play the four games like it’s a playoff series…and you’ll be better prepared when the playoffs start,” winger Simon Gagne said.

    Marty Biron, who has not been sharp in his last four games, will start Tuesday for the Flyers.

    Biron seemed to be at the top of his game in today's practice.

   "When he’s confident, he’s aggressive and pucks stick to him," coach John Stevens said. "He can turn it on. You don’t want to say there’s a switch there, but for some reason, he can turn it on, and we need him to turn it."

   The Flyers' magic number for clinching a playoff spot in one point.

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   .In a ceremony before Tuesday's game, the Flyers' award winners will be announced. Here, in order, are my top three choices for the team's MVP award:

   1. Mike Richards _ Plays hard every night _ and in all situations _ and is the team's best all-around player.

   2. Jeff Carter _ Having a breakthrough season and his hot streak keyed the Flyers' surge.

   3. Kimmo Timonen _ He quarterbacks the defense and the power play _ and is arguably the team's steadiest player.

   Would love to hear your top 3 choices and your reasons.

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    Tuesday is Pretzel Night at the Wachovia Center _ soft pretzels will cost $1. About 550 tickets remain for the game.