It might be too simplistic to say the next two games could decide the fate of some Flyers players.
But with the NHL trade deadline looming Monday, general manager Chuck Fletcher likely will be studying how his team performs over the weekend against Boston on Saturday and Buffalo on Sunday.
A couple of rousing successes could sway Fletcher to either keep what he has or possibly add a player or two.
On the flip side, if the Flyers don’t come up with a pair of Ws, some players could be calling for moving vans.
Did someone say pressure?
It’s safe to say the Saturday game falls into the must-win category.
The Flyers already trail the Bruins by six points (with the Boston crew holding two games in hand). This is the last time the two teams meet, with the Bruins holding a 6-0-1 edge in the series.
Coach Alain Vigneault could have some input into Fletcher’s personnel approach but ultimately the GM has to pull (or not pull) the trigger on any transactions.
The margin of error is so small right now the Flyers can’t even afford to allow this game to go to overtime. They have to secure two points in regulation time and not permit Boston to get anything.
Vigneault wouldn’t go so far as to say the Boston game is a make-it-or-break-it but it’s right up there.
“My job and my focus is to work with the players I have here,’’ he said Friday afternoon during a media Zoom call from the Skate Zone in Voorhees, N.J. “Chuck is aware – we talk on a daily basis – where I think we are as a group.
“I really believe that we have a good team. Our record doesn’t indicate how good our team is. There are still quite a few games left and all we need to do is focus on tomorrow.’’
The Flyers only have 17 games left in their season, so time is running out.
“I really like our compete level in the last four games,’’ Vigneault said. “I really believe our record should be better but it’s not.
“So you have to deal with it. Tomorrow we have to find a way to get the job done. Against Boston, we have to find a way to win that game in regulation.’’
>No discipline for Morin
No news apparently is good news for Flyers defenseman Samuel Morin.
Morin was given a five-minute major penalty for boarding plus a game misconduct for hitting the Islanders’ Casey Cizikas from behind in Thursday night’s game at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y.
Those sorts of infractions usually get reviewed by the NHL but as of Friday afternoon there had been no announcements of any supplementary discipline.
“As far as I’m concerned, I haven’t heard anything,’’ said Vigneault, deferring the issue to Fletcher. “I don’t expect anything. In my estimation, like I said after the game, I didn’t think it was a major.’’
>Vaccinations a positive step
Vigneault said both he and his entire staff (the personnel who registered) have been fully vaccinated. Sources say many of the Flyers also have been inoculated.
NHL players have been receiving vaccinations and the feeling is this will help alleviate stress when they go out in public or travel to other cities. It might also allow them to focus more on hockey rather than worry about whether they packed more than one mask in their suitcase.
“My personal recommendation would be to everyone to get their vaccine,’’ Vigneault said. “I’ve been fully vaccinated and player-wise I believe it’s the same thing.
“So the availability is there. Our guys are following what they’re supposed to follow (masks, hygiene, etc.). Everyone who wanted their vaccine has gotten their vaccine.’’
>Penalty kill trending up
The Flyers did a top job killing three power plays, including the Morin five-minute major against New York. Philly hopes to do something similar against the Bruins, who have scored a whopping 10 power-play goals in 19 attempts this season.
“We had some big kills, especially the five minutes,’’ Claude Giroux said of Thursday night’s game vs. the Isles. “I think we were able to get momentum out of it.
“When your PK feels confident, usually you will get momentum out of it. It was really good to see everyone working hard on the PK. We know Boston has a good power play but we’re going to be ready for them.’’