Flyers Clinch Playoff Spot, Will Face Caps in Round One
PHILADELPHIA — When Lauren Hart got done singing “God Bless America,” the Flyers’ good luck charm since the 1970s, she brought her cell phone in front of her face and started blowing kisses.
On the other side of the FaceTime chat was ailing chairman Ed Snider from his home in California.
Wayne Simmonds raised an eyebrow, knowing Hart could recite the song in her sleep and needed no teleprompter.
“I’ve never seen her read anything off her phone before,” he said.
It all made sense about three hours later.
The Flyers had beaten the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 to clinch a playoff spot and the doors to the locker room were closed for several minutes while Simmonds and his teammates took their turn FaceTiming Snider.
“We owe a lot to Mr. Snider,” Simmonds said. “I said it before, we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him. That’s for him and we’ve got more to go get for him.”
For the Flyers to make the postseason after missing out last season by 14 points, after having another slow start this season, after falling out of a spot Thursday that they held for three weeks, after falling behind 1-0 to their most bitter rival, they could finally exhale.
They will face the league’s best team, the Washington Capitals, in a first-round series starting next week.
“A lot of relief,” Jake Voracek said. “We knew what was the score in the other games today, but we knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I think we were a little bit nervous in the first 10 minutes and we just knew we had to stick with our game plan. That’s what got us in.”
By virtue of the Boston Bruins losing, the Detroit Red Wings clinched a playoff spot. Detroit lost as well, so the Flyers knew that if they could win, they’d be in.