Though their reasons are plenty different, Wednessday's upcomming game between the Flyers and the Montreal Canadiens is important for both teams as the regular season nears its end.
The Flyers (15-17-3) enter play on a season high-tying 2 game win streak following victories against Boston on Saturday and Washington on Sunday. They are six points behind the New York Islanders for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 13 games to play. Philadelphia has yet to put together any kind of hot streak this season, and will likely need one in order to salvage what has been a disappointing, injury-filled season.
Wednesday's game is just as good a chance as any for the orange and black to get something started. Boston lies just a point behind Montreal in the Northeast Division standings at 50, and the Capitals had been surging as of late, so these wins carry some weight to them.
Montreal (23-7-5) comes into the Wells Fargo Center after soundly defeating their division rivals, the Carolina Hurricanes, 4-1 on Monday night. After scoring just once in his last 12 games, LW Max Pacioretty lit the lamp twice against Carolina. The Canadiens swept the season series with Carolina, winning each of the teams' three meetings. Montreal's 51 points are good enough for second in the East, where the Pittsburgh Penguins lead the conference with 56 points.
The Canadiens hold a slim lead in the Northeast and on their number 2 playoff spot. With every point worth so much more due to the lack of games, the Canadiens will have to play this one with some urgency, especially since they could end up playing the Flyers in the playoffs if they make it.
It will be interesting to watch the play of the Flyers' main contributors thus far, especially Claude Giroux and Jakub Voraceck, who have carried the offense for most of the season. Voracek will likely get even more attention after acruing 19 penalty minutes resulting from his 1st career NHL fight, which earned him much respect from his teammates.
Injuries have hit at multiple team positions, which is likely one reason this team, which had great expectations in the preseason, has struggled to stay alive in the playoff hunt despite the glut of talent they possess. Among regulars to miss significant playing time are Scott Hartnell, Chris Pronger, Danny Briere, Matt Read, Wayne Simmonds, Andrej Meszaros, and Braydon Coburn.