Claude Giroux was mobbed by his teammates behind the net after he scored the game-winning goal with 12 seconds left in overtime in Monday’s 3-2 thriller over the Jets.
The captain’s marker spared the Flyers the agony of having to go to the dreaded shootout, and even more important allowed them to remain tied with the Red Wings – at the time – for the second wild card berth.
However, the win also extended the Flyers impressive and under-the-radar streak of not losing back-to-back games to 20. They have not lost consecutive games since falling to the Devils and Rangers on Feb. 13 and 14, a stretch that no doubt has played a huge role in reviving their playoff hopes.
They have gone 14-3-3 since those losses six weeks ago.
“We are pretty consistent in the way we play now,” Giroux said on how the team responds after a loss. “When you’re consistent in the way you want to play as a team and your identity, you come in every night and do it. I think you are going to give yourself a chance to win every game.”
With their shootout victory on Wednesday against the Capitals, who own the best record in the league, the Flyers are now two points ahead of the Red Wings for the second wild card berth – with a game in hand – and trail the Islanders for the first wild card spot by two points but New York has a game in hand.
Still, it’s not just what they have done on the ice that has helped them to avoid even a mini losing streak the last two months. Their demeanor after a game – win or lose – has been just as meaningful.
“(It’s) no highs or lows. We’re staying even, and that’s the biggest thing,” Wayne Simmonds said. “I think early in the year, we weren’t even. We had a lot of peaks and valleys, and now we’re kind of just straight-lining and we’re playing good hockey.
“We know if we stick with our structure and we work our butts off, we know we will win the majority of the games.”
If they continue with that successful approach over the final six games, they will likely find themselves back in the playoffs after missing out last year.
“It’s huge,” Jake Voracek said of the boost the team has gotten from the two wins this week. “We could have come up with (just) one point the last two games, but we came up with four. At this time of the year this is huge and we’re getting closer, but we have to keep going.”