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Exploring how the Flyers could make the playoffs

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Listen, I don’t like this any more than you do.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The 2018-19 Philadelphia Flyers are the team that just won’t quit. Well, that’s not quite true. The 2019 Flyers are the team that won’t quit, they certainly stopped playing for Dave Hakstol before the turn of the new year. They have been on the periphery of the playoff race since they pulled themselves out of the Metropolitan basement in January. The odds are minuscule, but it’s still possible for this team to see some playoff time.

MoneyPuck

Is this good? It doesn’t look good.

The Flyers sit at 82 points after 77 games played — they have five games left to play for a possible ten points. They are chasing the Carolina Hurricanes (77 games played, 91 points), Columbus Blue Jackets (77 games played, 90 points), and Montreal Canadiens (78 games played, 90 points).

With help from Kurt, here are the three possible scenarios.

1. If the Flyers win out and get ten points in their final five games, they get in if two of the following three things happen:

- Columbus collects no more than one point in their final five games

- Montreal collects no more than one point in their final four games

- Carolina collects no points in their final five games

2. If the Flyers get nine points in their final five games, they get in if both of the following things happen:

- Columbus loses their final five games all in regulation

- Montreal loses their final four games all in regulation

3. If the Flyers get eight or fewer points in their final five games, they are eliminated.

So, yes, it’s possible, but a lot of things would have to go perfectly. The Flyers will have to beat the Hurricanes twice, as well as the Rangers, Stars, and Blues. Carolina (first wildcard in the East), Dallas (first wildcard in the West), and St. Louis (third in the Central) will each be looking to solidify their spot in the post season and the Rangers always play hard against the Flyers. None of these games will be gimmes, and there are too many other variables to really consider a legitimate playoff run.

All of this being said, this team has fought back and not once given up. The emergence of Carter Hart has been crucial to a team that has needed steady goaltending behind a shaky defense for years. I imagine the three teams ahead of them are more than a little nervous about what the Flyers could put together in this final stretch.

So what now? If they do make the playoffs, every single odd is against them. We all know that anything can happen once a team makes the playoffs, but I certainly do not want to be the team that meets the Tampa Bay Lightning juggernaut and I’m not feeling great about the chances against the reigning Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals.

MoneyPuck

In the much more likely scenario that they fall just short, they are only behind Ottawa in the sadness category — this tracks missing the playoffs AND picking outside the top five in the upcoming draft. The odds are heavily weighted towards mid-round picks, and while they have found solid talent in those spots in previous drafts, none of those prospects are of the caliber of Jack Hughes.

HockeyViz
HockeyViz

This could very well be over Saturday afternoon, a Flyers loss to the Hurricanes and a Canadiens win over the Jets will seal their fate. Stay tuned, things are interesting!