By Michael Bennett
Time’s running out on the Flyers’ quixotic quest to make the playoffs.
They are five points out of the wild card with 14 games to play.
And tonight they face the Ottawa Senators at the Wells.
They went on the road Saturday and defeated the New York Islanders 5-2 to run their streak to 17-4-2 in their last 23 games.
“I think we’re just playing fast. … That’s something we’re focusing on,” Flyers forward Nolan Patrick told reporters after scoring a goal against the Islanders. “We’re confident now. We feel like we can play against
Goaltender Brian Elliott made 25 saves to earn the win. But the starting goaltender against Ottawa is unclear between Elliott, backup Cam Talbot and rookie Carter Hart.
Hart has been out with a lower-body injury since Feb. 21, but interim head coach Scott Gordon indicated that Hart could return to face the Senators.
James van Riemsdyk also scored against the Islanders and played a big role in the victory. The Flyers keep racking up wins and continue to sprint to the finish. They could wind up with a playoff berth.
“We just focus on the next game,” van Riemsdyk told reporters. “It’s easier that way.”
Meanwhile, the reeling Senators are 1-9-1 in their last 11 games. They dropped a hard-fought 3-2 decision on the road to the Boston Bruins on Saturday despite goals from Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Brady Tkachuk.
Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson is winless in his last 13 appearances dating to Dec. 17 when it beat the Nashville Predators, 4-3, in overtime. That’s a long stretch.
”I thought we probably deserved a better fate,” Anderson told reporters after the one-goal loss to the Bruins. ”We played a pretty good, solid game overall, and attention to details (cost us) near the end.”
The Senators fell to 1-3-1 since firing head coach Guy Boucher last Friday and naming associate Marc Crawford interim head coach.
”In order to win, it’s usually always about a series of habits,” Crawford told reporters. ”And on the final goal, we missed two assignments, we had a poor change, and those things can’t happen.”
Senators left wing Anthony Duclair was able to play after blocking a shot Thursday against the Islanders and missing Friday’s practice with a lower-body injury.
In addition, defenseman Christian Jaros (hamstring) missed his third straight game and remains questionable against the Flyers.
The Senators will have daunting task going on the road to play the surging Flyers.
“If this team is to grow, it will grow when it stops making those fundamental mistakes,” Crawford told reporters.