clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

NHL playoff race: Flyers stay in wild card spot, gain ground on Islanders with win

New, comments

The Flyers' win over Ottawa helped give them a bit more breathing room in the race for a playoff spot, and also allowed them to draw closer to the East's first wild card spot.

Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Flyers won a game yesterday that they really needed to have, given how much more difficult the schedule gets in the final five games of the season. Elsewhere around the league, they got a little closer to the first wild card spot and the chance to play one of Florida or Tampa instead of Washington, but they were also caught by one of the teams chasing them for a playoff spot in the first place.

Still, the good outweighed the bad on Saturday. Let's take a look at what happened.

What happened last night?

  • The Flyers won! But you knew that. You can read more about it here, and also here.
  • The Red Wings won as well. As they've been doing a lot lately, they went up early and held on late to snag a win, this time by a score of 3-2 over the Toronto Maple Leafs. That win allowed them to pull even with the Flyers in points (with two extra games played, of course) and to jump over Boston for the third spot in the Atlantic.
  • And the Islanders got steamrolled against the Penguins by a 5-0 score. Let's hope that was Pittsburgh getting all of the goals out of their system for the weekend. Until then, though, that allowed the Flyers to draw to within two points of those Isles in the race for the first wild card spot.

How things look now:

Here's where the Eastern Conference playoff picture stands with yesterday's games accounted for.

(Standing) Team Points Games Remaining ROW Remaining Strength of Schedule (Points %) Teams in Playoff Race* Left On Schedule Back-To-Backs Left On Schedule
(W1) NY Islanders 93 5 37 60.8% 4 2
(W2) Philadelphia 91 5 36 57.3% 4 3
(A3) Detroit 91 3 38 59.2% 3 1
(W3) Boston 90 4 37 56.0% 2 0

* "Teams In Playoff Race" includes any team in or within two points of a playoff spot; in other words, the sixteen teams currently in playoff spots plus Detroit.

And here are each team's playoff odds with yesterday's games taken into account.

(Standing) Team Odds (SportsClubStats) Odds (hockey-reference) Odds (Hockeyviz) Odds (Moneypuck)
(W2) Philadelphia 83.0% (+2.6%) 83.5% (+2.0%) 84% (+3%) 83.77% (+1.50%)
(A3) Detroit 48.8% (+8.0%) 55.5% (+11.6%) 56% (+10%) 55.14% (+11.06%)
(W3) Boston 70.5% (-8.9%) 63.8% (-11.6%) 63% (-11%) 63.18% (-3.87%)

On Friday, it was the Bruins who were the big winners at the expense of the Flyers and Wings; on Saturday, those roles shifted, as the Flyers and Red Wings were both propped up by their own wins.

Meanwhile, the Islanders are certainly within the Flyers' grasp at this point. Some things would need to go right in the next seven days and then the Flyers would need to win in Brooklyn on the season's final day, but it's not out of the question by any means. SportsClubStats currently gives the Flyers a 24 percent chance of landing in that spot (not to mention, a 5 percent chance of ending up in one of the top three spots in the division), so while the odds are against it, it's certainly worth monitoring.

Games that matter today/tonight:

Two games that matter are on the schedule.

  • The Flyers will face the red-hot Pens today at 5. With how well Pittsburgh has been playing lately, this is obviously going to be a pretty tough one to get a win from, but as we'll see it sure would go a long way towards clinching a playoff spot if they were to do it.
  • Before that, though, the Bruins will head to Chicago for a 12:30 ET game on NBC. A Blackhawks win would help matters, and though they've been struggling a bit lately they're still likely the favorite to grab two points here.

How much do tonight's games matter?

Here are the projected changes in the Flyers' playoff odds based on today's games:

PHI @ PIT PHI Reg W PHI OT W PHI SO W PIT Reg W PIT OT W PIT SO W
Sportsclubstats +7.8% +7.9% +7.7% -6.7% +2.2% +2.2%
Hockeyviz +9% +9% +9% -9% +1% +1%
BOS @ CHI BOS Reg W BOS OT W BOS SO W CHI Reg W CHI OT W CHI SO W
Sportsclubstats -2.7% -2.7% -2.6% +2.6% -0.6% -0.7%
Hockeyviz -4% -4% -4% +5% 0% 0%

Even just getting one point would be helpful for the Flyers today, but I think we can all agree that two would be a bit more fun, wouldn't it? Go team.