MAGIC NO. 27
No, they weren't talking about Mika Pyorala.
Instead, they were talking about the number of wins the Flyers needed to get in the second half of the season to make the playoffs.
27 out of 41. That might sound like a lot, and considering the position the Flyers had put themselves in after the first 41 games, it will likely take 54 points to qualify for the postseason.
But, look at the schedule. Really look at it. Don't be snookered into the belief that a team like the Tampa Bay Lightning at 16-15-10 is above .500. They aren't. They've played 41 games and won 16. That means they've lost 25. They're a sub-.500 team.
So, with that in mind I offer you this stat: Including tonight, a game which the Flyers defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-2, the Flyers play 28 of their final 41 games against teams that are sub-.500 right now.
Usually the Flyers find themselves in the midst of a brutal schedule down the stretch, but this season, it doesn't seem to be breaking down that way. At no point in the remaining schedule do they play more than two straight games against plus-.500 teams.
So, getting at least 54 points, seems not only attainable, but likely.
Consider the Flyers are 5-1-1 in their last seven games. The five wins, all sub-.500 teams. In the first 41 games, they were 11-5-1 against teams that are currently below .500.
That's not to say this is going to be smooth sailing the rest of the way. THe schedule, while not as top-heavy as far as opponents, is certainly brutal in the way of travel and the number of games in short periods of time.
With the exception of next week when the Flyers play just two games, the Flyers play 11 weeks with either three or four games per week on the schedule.
There's a road trip to Calgary, Edmonton and Minnesota in early February that will likely force the players to pack their mukluks, a trip to Tampa, Florida and Buffalo fresh out of the Olympic break, and five-out of six on the road in nine days in mid-March with stops in New York, Nashville, Dallas, Atlanta and Ottawa.
So it won't be a joyride, but it's a schedule that works for the Flyers, could get them on a nice, little roll, and have them feeling confident heading into the postseason.