Win and they’re in.
It’s that simple now for the Flyers.
With four games remaining in the season the Flyers need just one win to clinch a playoff berth. There are other ways they can clinch as well, but the simplest form is win one game to guarantee it.
Win one game and their captain, Claude Giroux, makes good on his promise that seemed so ridiculous at 1-7-0 in October.
Win one game and they have as just as good a chance as any of the other 15 teams that are in the post season tournament to be hoisting the Stanley Cup in two months.
That doesn’t mean just win tonight and cruise for the rest of the week. There’s still a legitimate shot at catching the New York Rangers for second place in the Metropolitan Division and earning home ice.
So, every game still matters.
But really, the Flyers couldn’t ask for this to be any other way. There’s no need to watch scoreboards. This is all within their control. Now they just have to go out and execute.
Now, some people want to know the other clinching scenarios, and while they exist, the only way they can clinch tonight is win.
However, an overtime or shootout loss gets them closer too.
Basically, here’s all you need to know: the magic number is two.
That means any combination of points earned by the Flyers or lost by both Washington and New Jersey totaling two and the Flyers are in. The magic number over Toronto is one.
In short, the only way the Flyers miss the playoffs at this point is to go 0-3-1 or 0-4 in their final four games while the Devils win out or Washington goes at least 3-0-1 in their final four games. The only way for Toronto to pass the Flyers is for them to go 3-0 and the Flyers to go 0-4.
As you can see, the scenarios are quite unlikely, although still possible, so nothing can be taken for granted.
But it’s important that the Flyers also don’t limp into the playoffs on the strength of just one win in these final four games.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are only two points behind the Flyers and although the first tiebreaker currently belongs to the Flyers, that could change, which could drop the Flyers into a Wild Card scenario meaning a first round matchup with either Boston or Pittsburgh instead of New York.
The Jackets can also catch the Rangers, but need some help as they are four points back with a game in hand, but the Rangers hold the tiebreaker over them, so it’s unlikely that a Flyers-Jackets first round matchup would happen.
Meanwhile, the Flyers-Rangers, which is the most likely first round matchup, will have home ice determined over these final four games. Currently, the Rangers would win the tiebreaker over the Flyers with more regulation and overtime wins (ROW), however the Flyers could pass them with a strong finish (the Flyers could have 41. The Rangers currently have 39 with only three games to play).
If the two teams finish tied in ROW, the second tiebreaker is points earned in head-to-head matchups. The Flyers and Rangers split their four meetings with each team winning twice in regulation, meaning they would have to move on to the third tiebreaker. However, the third tiebreaker would go to the Rangers, which is goal differential. Currently the Rangers are a plus-22 while the Flyers are Even.
But that’s all talk for the rest of the week. For now the Flyers have to focus on one thing and one thing only – beating Florida tonight.
To contact Anthony SanFilippo, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @InsideTheFlyers
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