The Flyers are in the driver's seat in the Eastern Conference following a very significant victory on Tuesday night.
The Flyers beat the Penguins 5-2 in Pittsburgh. That increased the Flyers' lead to four points over their Atlantic Division rivals.
With 102 points, the Flyers also hold a three-point lead over the second-place Capitals in the conference standings. The Flyers can clinch the top seed in the East with eight points in their final six games. That number will decrease by two with each loss by the Capitals.
While the Flyers recently went through a 5-5-4 stretch, the convincing road victory in Pittsburgh reinforced the belief in the locker room that this could be the year the 36-year Stanley Cup drought ends in Philadelphia.
"We've been together all year, and I think we all know how special this is and that opportunities like this only come around every so often," left wing Dan Carcillo said. "I think everybody realizes that and we know we're going to have to really step it up before playoffs."
Ed Snider, the Flyers' 78-year-old chairman, certainly believes his team is a Stanley Cup contender.
"Damn right it is," he said. "The bottom line is there are probably 10 -12 teams that think they can win the Stanley Cup. That's pretty fantastic from the league's point of view. You don't dominate anything anymore."
Another of those many contenders are the Bruins.
While their chances of winning the East are slim as they trail the Flyers by six points, the Bruins do hold a seven-point lead on the Canadiens in the Northeast Division with six games to play. Thus, the Bruins should be at least the No. 3 seed in the East and could possibly move up to second as they trail the Capitals by only three points.
The Bruins are also getting hot at the end of the regular season as they are 4-1 in their last five games. Their only loss in that stretch was 1-0 to the Rangers.
The Bruins are getting good goaltending from Tim Thomas, with backup help from Tuukka Rask, and no less an expert than Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith believes the Stanley Cup could be coming to Boston for the first time 1972. Keith knows about a winning a Cup as his team did so last season.
"They've got a good team," Keith said. "They've got a lot of depth and obviously a good goaltender. They've got a good chance, as good as anyone."
The Wild has six games remaining in the season. Speculation is rampant that coach Todd Richards also has just six games remaining at the helm of the Wild.
The Wild has fallen part in March as it is 3-10 for the month, including an eight-game losing streak that ended Tuesday night with a shootout victory over the Blues at St. Louis. That stretch has wiped out any hope the Wild had of getting to the playoffs for the first time in three years.
Wild owner Craig Leipold may be forced to jettison Richards for no other reason to appease the fans, who no longer pack the Xcel Energy Center. The Wild isn't likely to make any major offseason player acquisitions because it has little room under the salary cap.
Richards told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that he understands that his job could be jeopardy.
"Are there some things that I would change? Maybe," Richards said. "That's all in hindsight. For the most part, I'm comfortable and happy with the job I've done. It's not the results I want, by any means. It's not the way I want the team playing, by any means. But the opinions, the [hot seat], it goes with the job."
Scott Arniel will not win the Jack Adams Award in his first season as the Blue Jackets' coach. His team has slipped to 12th in the Western Conference with a 34-31-1 record following a promising start in which the Blue Jackets were 14-6-0 after 20 games.
However, if there was an award for being brutally honest, Arniel would be a contender. He told the Columbus Dispatch that he's not sure if he wants a lot of minor-league call-ups to join the team for the final weeks of the season.
"I'm kind of caught on the fence on that one," Arniel said. "[It's] a little bit of the guys that are here are the ones who got us into this mess, and they are the ones who have to finish it off. The other side is, 'Do we want to have some guys play some games who could help us next year?'"