VOORHEES, N.J. – Even though the Flyers have a little breathing room heading into the final week of the playoff chase, predictably they’re insisting they must keep their feet planted firmly on the gas pedal.
After Sunday’s home game against Boston, the Flyers visit the Islanders in Brooklyn on Tuesday, return home to face Carolina on Thursday and then finish up by hosting the Rangers on Saturday.
It’s way too early to predict a possible first-round opponent for the Flyers.
They could play Metro Division leader Washington and the Flyers went 3-1 against the Caps.
Or they could play the Penguins, which they went 0-3-1 against.
Or a bunch of other teams.
In any case, the Flyers want to focus on the task at hand: First, clinching; second, playing for higher seeding and possible home-ice advantage.
“It’s still open,’’ Jake Voracek maintained after Saturday’s practice at the Skate Zone. “We don’t know how the standings are going to be until after the last game of the year.
“I think we’re playing pretty well over the past few weeks (most recently 4-0-4 in their last eight games). That’s a positive sign.’’
Wayne Simmonds also believes the Flyers need to close the season on a positive note.
“You still have to play with urgency,’’ he said. “You still have to get points. As well as we’ve played lately, we have to play even better. We have a lot of hockey this week and we have to make the best of it.’’
The Flyers just completed an impressive three-game trip in which they went 1-0-2 against the likes of Pittsburgh, Dallas and Colorado.
They want to carry that momentum into the last four games.
“The most important thing is to get a playoff spot,’’ Simmonds said. “First and foremost, we are playing good hockey right now. We have to continue to play the right way.
“That’s what I think it comes down to now. You have to have the right habits. Have the mindset of doing things the right way so that when you do head into the playoffs, everyone has their head on straight.’’
Michael Raffl (out since March 20 with upper-body injury) practiced on Saturday and said he is scheduled to be examined by a team doctor on Monday. If he is cleared, he says he could be ready for Tuesday’s game at the Islanders. . .Defenseman Robert Hagg, who missed four games with a lower-body injury from March 10-18 but is now healthy, continues to wait his turn to get back in the lineup.