For the first time in recent Florida Everblades history, the Blades are in a game-by-game fight to keep their postseason playoff streak alive.
Currently sitting ninth overall in the ECHL's Eastern Conference standings, if the playoffs started today the Blades would miss the postseason for the first time in franchise history, a distinction no one on the team wants to be associated with.
After turning in what some called their best performance of the year in last Saturday's 4-0 win over the Cincinnati Cyclones, they are on track with Blades coach Greg Poss' prediction.
"That's the way we need to play to get in and win (in the playoffs)," Poss said after the win. "That was definitely one of our best performances of the year. We were solid in all phases of the game, and if we can continue to play that way, we should have no worries."
Florida's battle to secure a playoff berth truly began last week, when their nine-game, three-week homestand to close out the season began. Poss figured Florida had to win two of three games each week to secure the playoffs and, as recently as last Friday, when he reaffirmed as much after losing to the Cyclones that night. After the events of the weekend, where most of the teams in front of them also won, two out of three won't do it. Florida will have to win out and get some help to make sure they get in. Winning their last six games could propel them as high as third in the conference, if the pieces were to fall perfectly.
"Right now, though, we aren't thinking about any of that," said Poss. "We are just focused on these next games against South Carolina, and if we can play the way we did (Saturday) then everything else will take care of itself."
Defeating South Carolina three times this week, starting Wednesday night, won't be easy. The Blades have had mixed results against their division rival. The teams are evenly matched, splitting their previous six matchups 3-3, with the Everblades outscoring the Stingrays by just one total goal.
That task is made even harder given the fact that the Blades have a losing record (12-18) on home ice this season.