Playoff flyers

If there is one label every club aspires to, it’s ‘playoff team.’

In a recent debate over who might emerge from the East, it was suggested by one THN staffer that the Philadelphia Flyers have the genetic make up of a squad destined for post-season success.

The Flyers, surprisingly, advanced to the final four last year and certainly have their share of players who represent the combination of skill and grit it takes to win in the spring.

Mike Richards is a two-way force; Jeff Carter isn’t overly physical, but he’s got the big body to absorb abuse and Scott Hartnell loves getting his nose dirty as much as scoring goals.

Throw in the sheer skill of Simon Gagne and the fact Martin Biron proved himself a playoff-worthy goalie last year and it’s easy to see why Philly will have something to say about how the East shakes down.


San Jose Sharks 1 34-6-5 7-2-1 A strong finish over the final two months would make sure any Game 7 showdown with Detroit gets played in San Jose
New Jersey Devils 9 29-15-3 7-3-0 Won five contests during a six-game road trip and haven’t given up more than two goals in a game since Jan. 13
Detroit Red Wings 2 31-9-6 7-2-1 Will have some high-profile cheerleaders in Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidstrom after the pair was suspended one game by the league for playing hooky at the All-Star Game
Calgary Flames 5 28-14-4 7-3-0 Rene Bourque and Curtis Glencross are two pickups who’ve worked out very well
Boston Bruins 3 34-8-5 6-3-1 Watching Big Z break the hardest shot record was one of the highlights of all-star weekend
Washington Capitals 4 30-15-3 6-4-0 Ovie, and everything about him, made the entire weekend a highlight
Philadelphia Flyers 10 25-12-9 6-2-2 Might send 18-year-old defenseman Luca Sbisa back to the Western League for more seasoning
New York Rangers 7 28-16-4 6-3-1 Thank you, Marc Staal, for trying to inject some life into the dreaded event known as the YoungStars game
Chicago Blackhawks 8 25-12-8 5-4-1 How good does Kris Versteeg for Brandon Bochenski look right now?
Montreal Canadiens 6 27-13-6 6-4-0 Enthusiasm shown by Montreal fans during the entire all-star weekend demonstrates why it’s still special to play for the Montreal Canadiens
Phoenix Coyotes 12 24-19-5 6-4-0 So who had Shane Doan picked to win the SuperSkills shootout event?
Buffalo Sabres 13 24-18-5 7-3-0 Buffalo is 3-3 so far in the midst of a crucial stretch that sees them play nine of 10 away from home
Edmonton Oilers 18 24-19-3 7-3-0 Hey, look who might be a factor in the West after all
Florida Panthers 14 21-17-8 5-2-3 Still haven’t consistently hit the gear they need to be in to end a long post-season drought
Carolina Hurricanes 20 23-20-5 5-5-0 Cam Ward has been strong the past couple times out, but consistency hasn’t been his thing this year
Columbus Blue Jackets 11 22-20-5 5-4-1 R.J. Umberger on pace for a nice 26-goal season
Anaheim Ducks 15 23-21-5 4-6-0 It felt like Anaheim could go either way at points this season and right now, they’re headed the wrong way
Dallas Stars 17 20-18-7 5-3-2 James Neal enduring a first-year slump with just one point in his past seven games
Pittsburgh Penguins 16 23-21-4 4-6-0 Speculation continues to suggest coach Michel Therrien hasn’t got long to turn this thing around
Minnesota Wild 19 23-20-3 5-4-1 Marek Zidlicky started slow, but has five goals and 10 points in his past eight games
Tampa Bay Lightning 22 16-21-10 6-4-0 Bolts have quietly separated themselves from the league’s pushover pack
Ottawa Senators 25 16-21-7 4-4-2 No Ottawa goalie has more than nine wins this season. Good luck, Brian Elliot
St. Louis Blues 26 19-23-4 5-4-1 Carlo Colaiacovo has four points in his past four games, but more encouraging than that, he hasn’t been hurt since joining the Blues
Colorado Avalanche 21 23-23-1 4-6-0 Safe to say the Darcy Tucker experiment hasn’t gone according to plan. Then again, what has this year for Colorado?
Vancouver Canucks 23 22-19-7 2-4-4 OK Mats, anytime now…
Los Angeles Kings 27 19-20-7 4-5-1 Good to see young defenseman Jack Johnson back and getting his first goal after missing 41 games with a shoulder injury
Atlanta Thrashers 28 17-26-5 5-5-0 Can’t wait to see how this Rich Peverley thing works out
Nashville Predators 24 20-23-3 3-7-0 Radek Bonk is the NHL’s second-best faceoff man, winning draws 61.4 percent of the time
Toronto Maple Leafs 29 17-22-8 2-6-2 Let the firesale begin
New York Islanders 30 13-29-5 2-7-1 Bye bye to Rickety DiPietro for another season
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The Hockey News ranks the teams 1-30 each Monday based on a combination of last week’s play and a squad’s overall outlook.

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