With 19 games still left to play this season, Fife Flyers are not quite at the win or bust stage yet.
But head coach Todd Dutiaume accepts that this Saturday’s match against Cardiff Devils is a “pivotal” fixture in the Kirkcaldy side’s season.
Flyers are currently chasing Devils for the last play-off spot, and currently sit two points behind the Welsh club in ninth place.
Cardiff will have a chance to extend that gap in Friday night’s fixture at Dundee Stars, but Dutiaume just wants his side to claw back two points on Saturday.
“We’re right at the pivotal point in the season,” Dutiaume told the Press.
“There’s three teams fighting for that last play-off spot and while Cardiff have the edge right now, lots could happen this weekend.
“They are going into a three-game swing against Dundee on Friday, ourselves on Saturday, then Edinbrugh on Sunday.
“We have to concentrate on ourselves, and as soon as you let that gap get to seven or eight points that really puts your back against the wall.
“We’re right within touching distance and I’ve put across to the guys how imperative this game is.
“No player wants to finish the season playing for pride, so hopefuly we get a committed 60-minute team performance for each remaining game.
“If we get individuals trying to win games on their own, that’s when we fall apart and negative things happen.”
Cardiff have attempted to boost their hopes with a drastic overhaul of their roster, signing a new netminder, two defencemen and a forward in the past week. Dutiaume, however, is unfazed.
“This is a position Cardiff are not accustomed to being in and it would be disaster for them if they were to miss out on the play-offs - but that’s our goal,” he said.
“Teams are always looking to improve - whether they have improved or not remains to be seen on Saturday. Sometimes changes are good, but sometimes they can be bad.
“We’ve always said that if the right player becomes available there’s no way we would discount it.
“We’re always looking but I can say that we haven’t come across an individual that would make this team better.”
Dutiaume hopes that Saturday’s win over Edinburgh can be the springboard for a run of victories.
“We saw what a win can do for a team,” he said. “When that fifth goal went in at the end you saw the relief wash over the guys’ shoulders.
“A big win like that could go a long way, not only with regards the two points, but for that little bit of confidence, which is something we’ve really struggled with.”