The Philadelphia Flyers (32-23-12) begin the most important week of the 2015-16 season tonight when they welcome Henrik Zetterberg and the Detroit Red Wings (34-24-11) to the Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers enter tonight just three points back of Detroit for the final playoff spot with two games in hand. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30.
This is the second of three meetings with Detroit this season. The Flyers won a hard fought 2-1 shoot out victory back on January 17th in Detroit. Claude Giroux scored the lone goal for the Flyers in regulation. Michal Neuvirth made 29 saves to pick up the victory. The teams will wrap up their season series in Detroit on April 6th.
As the NHL season begins to wind down, there's always the sense of urgency that comes with teams scrambling for a playoff spot.
The Flyers are no exception. They've firmly entrenched themselves in the dogfight for the second wild card spot, and have found themselves oh-so-close to it at several intervals over the past week.
Of course, it's coming at a premium. Detroit and Pittsburgh have been in the fight for the spot as well -- basically alternating both spots -- while Carolina, New Jersey and Ottawa aren't too far behind. Some Flyers fans found themselves rooting for the New York Rangers in a pair of games against the Red Wings and Penguins this weekend. (Yes, it does feel disgusting, but it's all for the greater good, right?)
Jake Voracek's return from injury will have to wait at least one more game. The Flyers forward joined the team at practice late on Monday, but completely ruled out a return for Tuesday night's game against Detroit.
"Not a chance. I have to get a couple skates in and practice with the team first before I can get in a game," Voracek said. "No to tomorrow but hopefully I'm going to get better during the week. I want to go day-to-day and see how I feel. It was good to get that first skate and kind of see how I feel. I'll go from there."
But given his teammates recent play, Voracek isn't worried about the way the team will conduct themselves on Tuesday night, even if he isn't able to join them on the ice.