Torts is a very good HC, he turned Columbus around in his second season, adding only Gagner, off a horrid season with the Flyers. Then his GM went crazy and mortgaged the future for a two year run, overestimating the talent b/c Torts got them to play over their heads.
I think Torts and Briere are aware of that history, and won't be fooled by a coaching inspired "dead cat bounce." Even if they squeeze into the playoffs, they know a lot of work is left to be done. They'll have some tough decisions, do they trade or extend Walker at 29, he could be a bridge to the young D-men they need to add but who might take 2-3 years to mature into top 4 starters.
The value of getting the team to play well is to ingrain the right habits in your young core. They're playing 9-10 players 25 and under every night, plus TK (26) and Sanheim (27). That group will still be here in 3 years when they've added Michkov, Gauthier, Bonk, Barkey, the best players from LHV, etc. Having that group training, practicing and playing the right way will set a clubhouse that can integrate young players successfully.
What they need to avoid is the "mission accomplished" syndrome where they sign a couple big money FAs close to 30 and start trading draft picks for veterans and try to win now. Build the team organically and after you've had a couple playoff runs, then look to add a piece or two to fill a glaring hole to get over the top.