Though St. Patricks Day just passed, the luck of the Irish has not exactly been on the side of the Orange and Black.
The bad luck started Saturday afternoon in a pivotal matchup versus the rival Penguins from Pittsburgh. After an uncommon goal from defenseman Radko Gudas, the Flyers seemed to take their foot off the gas pedal as the Penguins came back and scored four straight goals to give the Flyers the loss. The final Pittsburgh goal appeared to be kicked by defenseman Kristopher Letang, which, after a review, was called a good goal.
The Flyers are once again trailing in the race for the wildcard as Pittsburgh has now moved out of the wildcard. The two wildcard spots are currently owned by the New York Islanders and the Detroit Red Wings. After briefly being in a playoff spot, the Flyers have not gotten much help from other teams. The Red Wings have won two crucial games against the Florida Panthers and Columbus Blue Jackets, which now puts them three points ahead of Philadelphia.
The surge for the playoffs has become even more challenging, however. They will most likely be missing goaltender Michal Neuvirth for the remainder of the regular season. Neuvirth suffered a knee injury during Saturdays pre-game warm-up. He will be getting an MRI next week, per Howard Eskin. This is a crushing blow for the Flyers. Neuvirth has been a diamond in the rough this season, posting the fifth best save percentage in the entire NHL (.925). The 27 year-old Czech goaltender has a history of injuries, and has struggled to stay healthy all year, but could be back for the playoffs. That’s if the Flyers make it.
Steve Mason has to be the Flyers primary netminder for the time being. Mason has been solid of late, playing an outstanding game against Pittsburgh on Saturday. Unfortunately, the rest of the team’s effort reflects poorly on Mason.
The Flyers also called up Anthony Stolarz, who will most likely see at least two games before the season concludes. Philadelphia has back-to-back games four more times this season, which will undoubtedly force coach Dave Hakstol to play the young Phantoms goaltender. Stolarz has a .916 save percentage with a 2.59 GAA with Lehigh Valley. The 2012 second round pick is developing into a solid goaltender, and getting some NHL games under his belt should be good for his development.