DETROIT — After beating the Metropolitan Division’s top two teams over the weekend and climbing into a playoff spot for the first time in more than two months, the Flyers will turn their attention to the Detroit Red Wings.
They will get their first look at Detroit’s new digs, Little Caesars Arena, when they face the Red Wings on Tuesday night.
“We’ve got to be ready; it’s a big two points up for grabs,” center Sean Couturier said Sunday after the Flyers outlasted Metro-leading Washington, 2-1, in overtime. The previous day, they defeated New Jersey, 3-1. “What we did these last few games, it won’t matter if we lose.”
The Flyers are soaring, playing with confidence and winning close games.
“Early in the season, that was one of the issues: We just didn’t find a way,” captain Claude Giroux said. “We were playing good hockey, but we just didn’t find ways. Right now we’re finding ways, and we can’t stop here.”
The Flyers have seven victories in their last eight games and have won three straight. They are 15-5-1 since ending their 10-game losing streak and have climbed into the Eastern Conference’s top wild-card spot.
“We have to keep pushing and build off these wins,” defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere said. “I think we’re becoming a more consistent team on the win side of it.”
Travis Konecny, the speedy right winger who has thrived since being put on the top line 12 games ago, said the team didn’t doubt itself even when it went on that 0-5-5 run earlier in the season.
“I don’t think we questioned ourselves at all,” he said after scoring the overtime winner in Washington. “It shows … our character to stick together in the locker room and how we’ve turned it around this season and proved everybody wrong.”
The Flyers have two more games before the all-star break: facing the Red Wings and then hosting Tampa Bay on Thursday. With 35 games remaining, they are just seven points behind the Capitals in the Metro, and within striking distance of second-place New Jersey and third-place Columbus.
“Obviously, it’s awesome,” Gostisbehere said of the Flyers’ surge, “but we can’t get ahead of ourselves. We know how it’s going to come down to the last couple games. That’s how our division is.”
“Honestly, it feels very good, but this division is so tight that you can’t be resting on that,” winger Michael Raffl said.
During their three-game winning streak, the Flyers have kept opponents’ shots to the outside and have received excellent goaltending from Michal Neuvirth and Brian Elliott.
“They’ve played outstanding, and when you have good goaltending, you have a chance to win every game in this league,” Raffl said.
The Flyers scored a 4-3 win over Detroit in the teams’ first meeting Dec. 20 at the Wells Fargo Center. Giroux had three assists and Couturier snapped a 3-3 tie by scoring with about 14 minutes left.
The Red Wings were set to play in New Jersey on Monday night and might be fatigued Tuesday. Then again, the Flyers were playing on back-to-back days when they defeated the rested Capitals on Sunday.