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How the Flyers Can Still Qualify for the Postseason

(Heather Barry Images, LLC)

The Philadelphia Flyers looked completely dead in the waters as they entered the spooky confines of Madison Square Garden. They were holding onto an eight-game losing streak, goaltending that was barely stopping 78% of the shots thrown their way, and having lost 11 of their last 15 – including two earlier in the year – against the NHL-leading New York Rangers.

With their 4-1 victory on Thursday night, the Flyers not only exorcised their demons but they survived another day in their playoff push for the final wild card spot. The Flyers received some help with the Buffalo Sabres having defeated the Washington Capital,  but the worst case scenario took place in the Pittsburgh Penguins-Detroit Red Wings contest as they went to overtime – with the Penguins coming out on top. Nevertheless, the door is slightly ajar for the final two games of the season.

After holding onto the third spot in the Metropolitan Division for over four months, the Flyers’ late-season collapse gave way for the New York Islanders to sneak in and take it for themselves. When these two teams last met, the Islanders had lost eight of their last 10 games, but after ringing out an overtime victory at the Wells Fargo Center they’ve strung along five more victories in a row. The Flyers still have a chance to take it back but it seems very unlikely at this stage of the game.

The Flyers seem destined to take the final wild card spot should they be able to punch their ticket to the post-season. They would most likely need to win out their final two games of the season – Saturday vs.’New Jersey and Tuesday vs. Washington – while getting a lot of help from other teams.

Fortunately, the Islanders, Penguins, and Capitals have difficult schedules to finish off the season. The Red Wings have the easiest schedule remaining with two games against the Montréal Canadiens but as the Flyers witnessed firsthand on two separate occasions, the Canadiens aren’t a team to take lightly.

New York Islanders:

Saturday at New York Rangers

Monday at New Jersey

Wednesday vs. Pittsburgh


Saturday vs. Boston

Monday vs. Nashville

Wednesday at New York Islanders


Saturday at Toronto

Monday vs. Montréal

Tuesday at Montréal


Saturday vs. Tampa Bay

Monday vs. Boston

Tuesday at Philadelphia

If the Flyers finish out the season going 2-0-0 and the Penguins go 1-2-0 or worse, the Flyers would finish one point ahead of their divisional rival and it’s not too far-fetched to think that can happen considering the Penguins have to play the Boston Bruins, Nashville Predators, and New York Islanders. The Flyers can’t afford to be tied with the Penguins at the end of the season because their cross-state rival has the edge in tiebreakers.

If the Flyers finish out the season going 2-0-0 and the Red Wings go 2-1-0, both teams would be tied in points, but the Flyers would have the slight edge due to the first tiebreaker which is regulation wins. As we stand today the Flyers have two more regulation wins than the Red Wings, so things would certainly get more complicated should the Flyers win their games in overtime while the Red Wings win both of theirs in regulation.

If the Flyers finish out the season going 2-0-0 and the Capitals go 2-1-0, the same scenario would apply but with both teams currently possessing the same amount of regulation wins, regulation and overtime wins, and total wins, it would have to go down to the fourth tiebreaker which would be the head-to-head matchup. The Capitals are 1-0-1 against the Flyers this season with one game left – the final game of the regular season. Should it go down to the final game of the season and the first three tiebreakers are tied up, it will be a win-and-you’re-in scenario akin to 2010.

A loss to the New Jersey Devils tonight wouldn’t put an and to the Flyers’ playoff quest but it would be entirely damaging. However, if all of the Penguins, Islanders, Capitals, and Red Wings lose today, then they’re still in the hunt. At that point they would need the Penguins to lose out and the Red Wings can only manage to win one game against Montréal. As for Washington, it’s a little murky because of the myriad of tiebreakers that are dead even and because of the final matchup of the season. However, they can still manage a victory either tonight or Monday but it would surely complicate the equation.

If the Capitals follow the Penguins and lose out while the Flyers lose to New Jersey but beat Washington, and Detroit only gets a maximum of two points, the final standings would look as such:

Philadelphia 87 points

Detroit 87/86/85 points
Pittsburgh 86 points
Washington 85 points

The Flyers’ eight-game losing streak really came at the most inopportune time and when you factor in the games they lost to Chicago, Columbus, Buffalo, and Montréal twice, it hurts just a little more. If they had managed two victories in that five-game span, they would most likely already be playoff bound for the first time since the COVID-bubble of 2020. Even if they managed just one victory, they would be in a far better spot heading into the weekend with one game less than their counterparts.

The Flyers are no longer in full control of their destiny, however they need to make sure that they win the final two games of the season. It’s not 100% imperative because there are still a few scenarios where they can sneak into the postseason should they lose tonight.

New Jersey will be without Jack Hughes as he was sidelined for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury and have gone 2-4-1 in their last seven games. However, they are 2-0-1 against the Flyers this season, which includes a 4-3 overtime victory on the 30th of November and a 6-3 win during their Stadium Series clash.

Win tonight and hope the Bruins defeat the Penguins, the Maple Leafs defeat the Red Wings, and the Lightning take down the Capitals. They’re all facing teams that hold superior records, star talent, and playoff positions already locked in – a silver lining if we’re looking for one.

Flyers fan born in the heart of Leafs nation

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