SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Flyers are going back to the playoffs.
After missing postseason last spring coming out of the lockout, Craig Berube’s club clinched a spot Tuesday night at BB&T Center with a 5-2 win over the hapless Florida Panthers.
It wasn’t a given, either.
All the talk at the morning skate about understanding what was at stake and players admitting they were pumped for a playoff clincher…
Well, the Flyers came out looking like flatbread with just one shot through nearly nine minutes and did absolutely nothing during a two-man advantage.
Berube was rather loud on the bench between TV timeouts and let his team know how unhappy he was with the effort.
The second period saw the pace pick up while the Flyers scored four times on goalie Dan Ellis to blow the game open.
Flyers captain Claude Giroux had two goals just 2:31 apart, although the team was very sloppy throughout and Florida drew to within 4-2 at one point.
The last time the Flyers scored four goals in a period came during the third period of their 5-2 victory at San Jose on Feb. 3.
Berube admitted at the morning skate he considers this a nice accomplishment given the Flyers' horrific 1-7 start in October when they were dead last in the Eastern Conference.
Flyers goalie Steve Mason lost his shutout at 1:14 of the third period on Erik Gudbranson’s screen shot from the point.
The Flyers were 0 for 3 on the power play. Florida was 0 for 1.
Mason had two quality saves on Tomas Fleischmann and Dmitry Kulikov to keep it a 4-2 game on the Panthers' lone power play.
The Flyers had 1:40 of a 5-on-3 power play and were nothing short of disorganized, even allowing the Panthers to ice the puck twice. Muffed shots. Blocked shots. Two pretty good drives by Vinny Lecavalier from the right circle that Ellis handled and that was it.
The Flyers are a very poor 2 for 15 this season when having a two-man advantage.
It took almost seven minutes before the Flyers got one, as Sean Couturier skated up the ice, down the middle, cut left and wheeled behind the net for an attempted wrap-around at the right post that Ellis saved.
That belonged to Lecavalier at 2:02 of the second period on his jam attempt that squeezed through Ellis’ five hole for a 1-0 lead. It was Lecavalier’s 20th goal.
Join the club
Lecavalier is the seventh Flyer to score at least 20 goals this season. The last time that happened was 1989-90. No other NHL club has seven 20-goal scorers.
Giroux ended a five-game skid without a goal at 6:29 of the second period, taking a very nice lateral stretch pass from Nick Grossmann and ripping a shot past Ellis from the right circle for his first goal of the game. His last goal prior to that one came against Toronto on March 28.
Giroux’s second goal a few minutes later in the second period gave him the club lead at 27. He last scored two goals in a game on March 5 during a 6-4 victory over Washington.
That’s four times this season Giroux has scored twice in a game.
Long dought ends
That would Sean Couturier (11 goals), who notched his first goal in 18 games late in the second period, making it 4-0. His last goal was March 1 against the Rangers.
The Flyers caught a huge break when goalie Roberto Luongo was yanked after warmups with an upper-body injury, forcing Ellis into the net. Ellis gave up four goals on the first 24 shots he faced.
Jonathan Huberdeau, back in the lineup after a prolonged absence for a concussion, had a nifty goal on Mason in the third period with Mark Streit draped over him.
Beautiful one by Lecavalier to Tye McGinn late in the game for a goal, making it 5-2. It was McGinn’s first goal since Oct. 15 against Vancouver.
Defensemen Hal Gill and Erik Gustafsson; forwards Jay Rosehill and Zac Rinaldo. Gill, Gustafsson and Rosehill are all healthy, while Rinaldo is suspended.
The Flyers play the Lightning in Tampa on Thursday.