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NHL standings: Don't look now, but the Flyers are just 5 points back of the playoffs...

5 points back, but still a serious long shot to actually qualify for the postseason.

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The Flyers kept their point streak rolling last night in Buffalo with an ugly win against the league-worst Sabres. In these last nine games, in which the Flyers have earned 13 points, there have been good performances and ugly ones, but at the end of the day the only thing that matters is that slowly but surely, the team is getting back into the playoff mix.

It's fun. Even when they play poorly, as they have for stretches over the last few games in particular, knowing that the team is inching closer towards playoff hockey builds excitement and makes the games worth watching.

It can be hard to sit back and actively root for the team to lose, of course, even though we all truly know that would be the best possible scenario this season. Anybody who's watched this Flyers team for more than a minute this year knows that they're not good enough to win the Stanley Cup, nor are they good enough to win a playoff series against most teams -- maybe Pittsburgh excluded. So if we're being honest with ourselves, as much fun as playoff hockey can be, the better outcome would be to miss the playoffs and preferably lock down a top 10-or-hopefully-higher draft pick, whether it be by falling in the standings or striking gold in the draft lottery next month.

We all know that, which is why watching these games this time of year can feel a little good vs. evil.

What remains, however, is the reality: even if the Flyers keep this up, making the playoffs is still a long shot.

Metropolitan GP W L OTL Pts
New York Islanders 56 37 18 1 75
Pittsburgh Penguins 56 32 15 9 73
New York Rangers 54 33 16 5 71

Wild Card GP W L OTL Pts
Washington Capitals 57 30 17 10 70
Boston Bruins 55 28 20 7 63
* * * * * * *
Florida Panthers 55 24 19 12 60
Philadelphia Flyers 56 24 22 10 58

As they currently sit, the Flyers are five points out of the final wild card spot, with the Florida Panthers standing in their way as well. Last week we outlined the way the Flyers could get back into the race, and they're in the middle of making it come to fruition. They're winning -- or at least earning points in -- their games while the Boston Bruins are falling off the map, losers in four of their five games so far in February.

We could see this trend continue for at least a little bit longer. Boston is on a west coast road trip while the Flyers face Columbus and Buffalo, both at home, this week. It wouldn't be totally far fetched for that five point gap to shrink even further by the weekend, before the Flyers have a tough back-to-back against Nashville and Washington.

But the thing about it is that the Flyers need these trends to continue for much longer than another week if the Flyers want to make the playoffs. It's obviously not good enough to merely be in or near playoff position at the beginning of March, and they'd need to be better than the Bruins (and Panthers) over the last month+ of the season to keep it going. This is all forgetting the fact that a five point gap is nearly impossible to overcome in November, let alone in mid-to-late February.

Do you think the Flyers are a better team than the Bruins over a two-month haul? Or that Boston won't go on a hot streak in the next two months? Or that the Flyers won't go cold for a few games over the next few months? These are the questions you need to ask yourself if you really think the Flyers have a chance of making the postseason this year.