Danny Briere would not even allow himself to think about it.
Is this the last time I’ll play in this building as a Flyer?
“No, I can’t,” Briere said after the Flyers' 2-1 win Thursday night over the Islanders that closed out their home schedule at Wells Fargo Center.
Briere is the most likely candidate on the Flyers to face an amnesty buyout this summer.
His six seasons here were marked with absolute professionalism on and off the ice.
“I got a season to play and there is still another game left. I’ll deal with that when the season is over. I have no clue what is going to happen. It’s out of my control.
“In my mind, I’m coming back next season because I have a contract and I hope to be back.”
Much like Simon Gagne, who represented the Flyers for a decade before departing and then coming back, you could not have asked for a better ambassador of Flyers hockey than Briere, who was the epitome of class his entire time here.
Was he aware the fans gave him a standing ovation after warmups?
“I wasn’t aware of that. Every year, I’ve been treated awesome by the fans here … You could not ask for a better place to play.
“I’ve been here a long time and we’ve been through some good times and bad times.”
After the game, Briere and his teammate saluted the fans. The Flyers finished 15-7-2 on home ice.
“It was a thank you them being there all through this lockout,” Briere said. “We haven’t had our best season.”
How fitting, also, that Briere ended his 19-game goal drought in this game. Midway into the first period, he scored on the power play.
“I was wondering the last few games, getting chances after chances, and [the puck] just didn’t want to go in,” Briere said.
“The game in Carolina, I could have had seven goals. You start wondering what is going on.”
Actually, it was pretty nice passing from Gagne to Brayden Schenn along the goal line to Briere, standing in the right slot for a one-timer past goalie Kevin Poulin.
“Great pass by Brayden,” Briere said. “It was so fast I almost didn’t see it.”
As far as season-ending climaxes go, this game was far from it.
Both teams seemed in a stupor much of the game until the third period, which began 1-1.
Remember how Oliver Lauridsen scored his first NHL goal on Tuesday against Boston? Zdeno Chara actually put his dump-in pass into the net?
Well, this time Lauridsen scored a goal on his own merits with a wicked shot from the left circle at 13:29 off an assist from fellow rookie defenseman Brandon Manning.
“I had a pretty good lane going down, took a couple steps going in and wound up,” Lauridsen said of his goal.
“That first [goal against Boston], I am going to remember forever. This one, I probably will, too.”
His shot was a canon, too.
“He got every pound of his body into that shot,” coach Peter Laviolette said.
If you are wondering, Lauridsen weighs 220 pounds.
We should mention that the Flyers' patched-up defense that has finished the season has looked pretty good on the ice.
Since April 16 when Lauridsen was joined by Manning in the lineup, the Flyers are 4-1.
The game came to a complete halt in the second period, especially after Hart Trophy candidate John Tavares tied it at 1:37.
Matt Carkner’s shot as he came into the slot was redirected by Tavares toward the left post. Ilya Bryzgalov made a diving attempt at a full stretch save across the goal crease.
Bryzgalov's stick blade actually knocked the puck inside the post for Tavares’ 28th goal of the season.
The game stayed tied until the final period.
The Flyers are 22-22-3. They have a chance to finish with a winning record but there are no playoffs.
“What’s the point?” Bryzgalov said. “There’s no difference. We are not going to make the playoffs.
“It doesn’t matter whether you’re two games below or two games above .500, its pointless. Of course, it’s nice to win the games, but at the end of the day it doesn’t change anything.”
Briere agreed it might be tough to get motivated, but there was something else.
“It’s playing for pride,” he said. “Trying to leave it all out there. Basically, we played for the fans who have supported us for many years and the people who have been there all year through this tough season.”