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Hopes and heads held high, Flyers stay on top of the math

PHILADELPHIA — The Flyers controlled what they could, their 1-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils Saturday at Wells Fargo Center keeping them mathematically alive for a playoff berth.

No matter what happens they’ll still be in the playoff hunt through Sunday.

Much as the Flyers spoke about living to play another day, the squad that frittered away what once was a clear path to the postseason could suffer elimination before hosting the Washington Capitals in the regular season finale Tuesday night.

For now, though, there is a heartbeat, a pulse, and Travis Konecny, whose 400th NHL point in a shorthanded situation was the only goal of the afternoon. It was the ultimate character test for a group that’s won two straight following an eight-game losing skid.

“It was huge,” Konecny said of the victory. “It was just getting back to believing. We know where we’re at. We’ve talked in the room about as long as we go home after the last three and say we gave it our best shot, that’s all you can do. You can feel it in the room right now. Guys want to prove that we should be in the spot we’re at.”

Konecny’s 33rd goal of the season went far right to beat Kaapo Kahkonen on a breakaway with 9:01 left in the second period. Scott Laughton’s pass set Konecny up for the Flyers’ league-leading 16th shorthanded goal of the season. Nick Seeler’s diving clear found Laughton.

“I was kind of cheating up the ice, but he got a great stick on it, made a great play and then I saw TK out of the corner of my eye taking off,” Laughton said. “I just tried to lead him. He scores a big goal for us. Two big wins for us and a good bounce back from where we were at.”

Goalie Samuel Ersson stopped 20 shots to register his fourth shutout of the season. Flyers coach John Tortorella is happy to see Ersson rebound in the season’s final week.

“We have struggled in net and it’s not the Erssons, it’s the goaltending situation that I think knocked us down,” Tortorella said, with a not-so veiled reference to former starter Carter Hart on indefinite leave, facing a sexual assault charge. “I think we’re 90-plus (points) if the goaltending situation didn’t happen the way it did. It caught up to us. And I’m not apologizing to anyone for playing Errson as much as I did. I’d do it again. … I’m thrilled for him that he’s kept us afloat. That was what, his 50th game? He’s scheduled to play 18 to 20 and he’s playing 50. Terrific for him.”

With two days before the next game, the Flyers couldn’t be faulted for scoreboard watching.

“I don’t watch at all,” Ersson said. “You want to look but I think it’s better just to focus on what we’re doing and what we can control here. Looking back where we were a couple of games ago, we definitely like this situation. We’re just going to do everything in our power to get the job done here.”

Laughton echoed that sentiment with a bit more hope.

“We’re not looking back, we’re looking forward,” Laughton said. “We’re going to try to get in here and we’re going to try to compete.”

Source: Berkshire mont

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