There are three teams currently fighting for the last two playoff spots in the NHL’s Eastern Conference, and they’re all within one point of each other. Both Detroit and Boston have 93 points with one game left, and Philadelphia has 92 with a pair still to play. As it shakes out, Philly clinches a spot in the playoffs if they win both games, and they have to win at least one. Those aren’t the best odds, but it shouldn’t ever have gotten this close. The Flyers were comfortably in a week ago, but they’ve lost three straight, including a rather strange 4-3 OT loss tonight to the Maple Leafs, the very worst team in hockey.
The Leafs scored twice in the first period, and the Flyers couldn’t capitalize on a power play. Jake Voracek scored what looked like an equalizer in the second period, only to have it ruled out for interference.
It looks like Claude Giroux was tripped and fell into the box, but had officials been consistent throughout the game, it wouldn’t have been the biggest deal. However, a no-call later in the game rendered it rather controversial.
Wayne Simmonds scored in the last minute of regulation to force an overtime, an overtime in which Toronto quickly earned a power play. Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner scored the winner on this cannon of a slap shot here.
As you can see, Toronto’s Brooks Laich was in the crease. The play was reviewed and upheld on review. The Flyers are understandably pissed:
Coach Dave Hakstol thought goalie interference should have been called on Toronto’s Brooks Laich on the game-winning goal.
“If the first one was disallowed when G went to the net and he got tripped, why should the other one count?” asked winger Jake Voracek, who scored the goal that didn’t count.
Frustrating as the loss was, the Flyers are still in decent position to make the playoffs. They won’t be favored in either of their last two games (against the Penguins then the Islanders), but they have to take at least one of them, and the Bruins and Red Wings have decently tough opponents ahead of them. If they can make it, they may even find themselves the beneficiaries of the hallowed, traditional Capitals collapse.