Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Flyers Are Not Dead

Trade deadline day in Philadelphia is going to be a stressful day for Flyers Twitter. It seems like the majority of the people in this hypothetical locker room are ready to sell everything that isn't nailed down, limp to the finish line of the season, and try to retool (or rebuild the whole thing from scratch).

Flyers Twitter can snowball sometimes, and it can be an enormous echo chamber. "This season is lost" seems to be universally understood.

But then Bill Melzter posted him daily Meltzer's Musings column. And, uh, guys...

The Rangers have clearly locked up the first Wild Card spot in the East. But that second spot is very much up for grabs. If we ignore current Atlantic Division representatives Ottawa (72 points, 59.0 points percentage) and Boston (72 points, 57.1%), here are the points percentages of the teams in contention for the wild card:
  • NY Islanders - 55.7%
  • Toronto - 55.6%
  • Florida - 54.8%
  • Philadelphia - 52.4%
  • Tampa Bay - 52.4%
  • Buffalo - 50.0%
  • New Jersey - 50.0%
There are seven teams in the hunt for that second spot, and literally none of them have more wins than losses this season. Nobody is going to run away with that second spot, and it might come down to the final day of the season. That would be Sunday, April 9th:
  • Buffalo @ Tampa, which might matter if Tampa rights the ship over the next month
  • Ottawa @ NY Islanders, which will be enormous because NY is right in the mix, and Ottawa sneaky could find themselves in the mix pretty quickly
  • Columbus @ Toronto, which will matter for the home team but not for the visitors
  • Florida @ Washington, which will matter for the visitors but not for the home team
  • New Jersey @ Detroit, which will not matter at all to anybody on the planet
  • Carolina @ Philadelphia, which hopefully matters for the Flyers
The Flyers have 19 games to make that last game worth something. Those 20 include games against the Devils (three times), Hurricanes (once, and then again on the final day), Panthers, Sabres, Maple Leafs, Bruins, Senators, and Islanders. Why couldn't they string together a couple 5- or 6-game streaks and pass the three Atlantic teams they currently trail?

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