The Lynx knew it as they packed their bags and boarded the bus for Florida last weekend. Their destiny is in their own hands.
Thanks to a scheduling quirk, the Lynx take on the Florida Everblades four times in nine days, beginning tonight at Everblades Arena near Fort Myers, Fla. For the Lynx, the outcome of the four games likely will mean the difference between a first-round playoff series or a first-round bye.
"It's going to be like a playoff situation for us," Lynx winger Darren Colbourne said. "We basically have to go into each one of these games thinking we have to win."
Though Sunday's 6-3 loss to struggling Miami kicked off their four-game Florida road swing off inauspiciously, a win tonight certainly would brighten the mood.
The Lynx (32-22-4) are sixth in the Southern Conference with 68 points, but would move back into a tie for fifth place with South Carolina with a victory tonight. The top five teams in the Southern Conference get a first-round bye in the ECHL playoffs.
But they're running into the league's hottest team. Florida (36-16-3) has won nine of its last 10 games and enters the night fourth in the Southern Conference with 75 points.
The Everblades boast the No. 1 defense and one of the top goaltending tandems in the league. Florida holds opponents to just 25.7 shots and 2.45 goals per game, both tops in the league, and averages 3.64 goals per contest, which ranks fifth.
Goalie Marc Magliarditti (26-9-2) leads the league in wins and is second with a 2.22 goals-against average.
After an off-day on Thursday, the Lynx and Everblades do it again Friday night at Everblades Arena. Augusta then returns to Miami to take on the Matadors on Saturday before returning home to open its final six-game homestand with two more games vs. Florida next Wednesday and Friday.