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Let’s talk about the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs

The Flyers are done. But we have playoffs.

Kate Frese / SB Nation

The Flyers sent defenseman Robert Hagg and goaltender Anthony Stolarz back to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Monday morning, roughly 14 hours after the NHL regular season concluded and the Flyers coaching staff sulked over beers about it.

Hagg and Stolarz still have regular season hockey to play, and they likely have a bunch of hockey to play after that as well. The AHL regular season will conclude next weekend, and as we’ve discussed in recent weeks, the playoff berth is not coming as easily as Lehigh Valley would like.

But with three games left and a magic number of just one point, the squad should be just fine. Here’s how things shape up on this, the last Monday of the AHL regular season. The top four make the playoffs.

AHL Atlantic Division Standings

Team Games Left W-L-OTL-SOL Pts Magic #
Team Games Left W-L-OTL-SOL Pts Magic #
WB/S Penguins 3 50-19-3-1 104 clinched
Lehigh Valley Phantoms 3 45-23-5-0 95 1
Providence Bruins 3 43-21-5-4 95 2
Hershey Bears 2 41-22-8-3 93 4
Bridgeport Sound Tigers 2 44-26-3-1 92 6
as of April 10

It’s worth noting that the sixth place team in the Atlantic Division, the Springfield Thunderbirds, are a full 23 points behind fifth place.

But the top of this Atlantic Division is just not fair. The Phantoms would be a first place team in the North Division or Pacific Division, and they’d be one point behind first in the Central. They’d have long-since clinched a playoff spot if they were in any other division.

But, here we are. Three games left, 45 wins on the record, and still no playoff spot clinched. There were three chances for the team to clinch this past weekend, be it in their own games or via results in other games, and not once did things go Lehigh Valley’s way. So we wait.

The Phantoms are obviously hoping to finish in the spot they currently sit: second place in the Atlantic Division, where they will get home ice in the first round.

Wednesday will see a game against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, who could certainly rest players given that they have clinched the division title. The Phantoms then close the home schedule on Friday night in what will be a big game in terms of playoff seeding and a potential Round 1 preview against Providence. The season ends Saturday on the road against the lowly Binghamton Senators.

All they need is one point, or for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers — who currently sit in that fifth spot with 92 points on the year — to lose one potential point in their remaining two games on Friday and Saturday. That’s it.

It should happen, but we will hold our breath nervously until it does. The Phantoms have not made the postseason since 2008-09, their final season as the Philadelphia Phantoms at the Spectrum, when they were swept by Hershey.