By:Kyle Frey @Phillyfan_KFrey
For the 16th time in the past 17 years, the Orange and Black are playoff bound. The incredible run by the Flyers was officially continued tonight as the Flyers beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-1. The most shocking part of tonight's game, Danny Briere who has struggled all season long, netted 2 goals, one a deflection, the next a wrister by the Habs backup goalie Peter Budaj. Ilya Bryzgalov was strong once again in net as he continues his amazing month of March. Bryz is playing as good as anybody right now and the best part is, the playoffs are right around the corner.
Matt Read and Kimmo Timonen scored the other two goals for the Flyers and Zac Rinaldo almost gave them a 5th but the clock ran out in the 2nd period before Rinaldo's great backhand went past Budaj.
Over the past 17 years the Flyers have made a turnaround for the ages, from struggling through the late 80's to early 90's, then the acquisition of John Leclair and Eric Desjardins which bolted the 94-95 Flyers to the top of the Atlantic which started this run. Ever since that lockout shortened year, the Flyers have missed the playoffs just once in that span, which was the year that should never be talked about ever again, making it to 5 Eastern Conference Finals and 2 Stanley Cup finals. From the Legion of Doom to the Primeau lead Flyers, to the Richards and Carter era, and now, a new era of Flyers hockey that has started with another playoff appearance lead by exciting rookies and veterans.
When looking at the possible teams the Flyers could face in the first round of the playoffs, it looks more and more like a rematch from 2009 between the Flyers and the Penguins. Now while the Flyers lost that series to the eventual cup champs, the electricity was incredible in the WFC throughout that series, now with the added intensity of the Flyers-Pens matchup with Jags and Talbot playing for us, you can imagine the electricity will be just as, if not higher if that series does happen. The Flyers do have a chance at taking the division though as they trail the Rangers by just 5 points. If the Flyers can keep this hot streak up, this team could be looking at their second straight Atlantic Division title.
Monday the Flyers face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Bolts, still fighting for a playoff spot will be a tough game for the Flyers. While the Flyers do still have things to play for, the Bolts obviously are in the more desperate situation and you have to watch out for teams like those down the stretch. So with all of this being said, congrats to the 2011-2012 Flyers on another playoff berth! LET'S GO FLYERS!