March 29, 2012; Toronto, ON, CANADA; Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Matt Carle (25) against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. Philadelphia defeated Toronto 7-1. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-US PRESSWIRE
Philly looked great in decimating Toronto, but the NHL's Florida teams both faltered on Thursday.
The Philadelphia Flyers scored the biggest triumph of Thursday night in the NHL. And the Sunshine State's two teams both suffered road losses that could damage their playoff pursuits.
Philadelphia's 7-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs was little more than the dictionary definition of a snoozer. The Flyers scored the game's first two goals, then scored five unanswered goals in the second and third period en route to a win that moved them to 98 points, just two back of the Pittsburgh Penguins for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds each had two goals in the win, and the loss was so bad that Toronto fans cheered for the Blue Jays during the game.
The Tampa Bay Lightning, on the other hand, dropped a 6-4 game to the New Jersey Devils in Newark, and may have killed their already slim playoff chances as a result. Ryan Malone's hat trick wasn't enough to make up for New Jersey's four-goal second period, and the Lightning remained at 77 points, nine back of the eighth-place Buffalo Sabres, with just five games left. The Devils improved to 94 points and sit four points back of the Flyers.
Florida's situation isn't nearly as dire -- the Panthers have the Southeast Division all but sewn up -- but a 3-2 overtime loss to the lowly Minnesota Wild damaged its chances of earning the No. 2 seed in the East. The Panthers enter Friday four points back of the New York Rangers, instead of just two.
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