By Mark Gallagher
The Flyers were the NHL’s hottest team in February and March, having won 12 of 15 when play was halted for the pandemic.
The Flyers are looking to recapture that magic before getting into a best-of-seven.
”It’s a little less pressure right off the bat, so we can get back into as quick as possible without even getting the risk of losing and getting kicked out,” forward Sean Couturier said. ”I just think it’s going to be important, though, to find our game as quick as possible and ramp up the intensity so we’re ready right off the start of the actual playoffs.”
Flyers coach Alain Vigneault will use these games to make a few lineup decisions, too. Colorado coach Jared Bednar has a big one to make – who starts in goal when games count, Philipp Grubauer or Pavel Francouz – and he will use round-robin play to decide.
”I’d like to get both of those guys playing and get some games under their belt before we head into the playoffs,” Bednar said.
The tricky balance is wanting the last line change that comes with being the ”home” team but also not knowing which opponents represent better matchups in a sport so predicated on matchups.
”I’m not sure what any of it’s going to mean,” Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher said. ”Whoever comes out of the play-in rounds, the qualifying rounds, will obviously be playing very good hockey and they’ll be probably a little bit more battle-tested than the four of us that are waiting for them.”