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Eastern playoff standings remain unchanged, Devils beat Flyers, live to see another day

Philadelphia Flyers v New Jersey Devils

NEWARK, NJ - APRIL 01: Patrik Elias #26 of the New Jersey Devils celebrates scoring a goal against the Philadelphia Flyers with teammates Andy Greene #6 and Brian Rolston #12 during the second period of an NHL hockey game at the Prudential Center on April 1, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey. Devils won 4-2. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

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Eastern Conference playoff race

x-1. Philadelphia - 102 pts
x-2. Washington - 101 pts
x-3. Boston - 97 pts
x-4. Pittsburgh - 98 pts
5. Tampa Bay - 95 pts
6. Montreal - 89 pts
7. Buffalo - 87 pts
8. NY Rangers - 87 pts
9. Carolina - 84 pts
10. Toronto - 82 pts
11. Atlanta - 78 pts
12. New Jersey – 77 pts

x - clinched playoff spot

New Jersey 4, Philadelphia 2

All it took was the first Patrik Elias hat trick in five years for the New Jersey Devils to hang onto their ever-so-slim playoff hopes. With five games remaining, the Devils have realistically been eliminated from the playoffs, but mathematically still have a shred of hope. By beating the Flyers, they only have to win their last five games while either the Sabres or Rangers lose the rest of their games in regulation. Then again, had they lost on Friday night to the rival Flyers, all hope would have been squashed.

Despite the loss, the news is slightly better for the Flyers. Philadelphia was a point ahead of the 2nd place Washington Capitals with a game in hand before the night started. Now the Flyers are a point ahead of the Caps with no game in hand. The loss was the second in as many nights for the top-seeded Flyers and their third loss four games. As Kimmo Timonen expressed, this is not the way the team wants to be playing as they head to the playoffs.

“We keep talking about being the top team in the league but we haven’t played that way. For sure we want to be the top team in the East, but right now we have to worry about ourselves and get our game in order. These four games are huge for us. Going into the playoffs, we have to get our game back on track.”

The Flyers next game is a big Atlantic Division battle against the Rangers on Sunday afternoon. The Game of the Week will have implications for both the Flyers who were fighting for home-ice advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs, and the Rangers who are just trying to get into the playoffs. Who knows, this time it might be closer than the 7-0 embarrassment the Flyers endured last time the two teams played.