VOORHEES, N.J. — What letter should we place next to the Flyers' name in the standings?
It won't be an X, Y or Z to denote their elimination from contention for the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
It’s not official, but it looks more and more inevitable.
The hockey website MoneyPuck.com, which crunches numbers and percentages league wide on a daily basis, currently computes the Flyers' chances of reaching the playoffs at 9.93 percent following Thursday’s 5-3 loss to the Hurricanes. If the Flyers lose in regulation to Calgary on Saturday, that number dwindles to 7.52.
If their regression continues this month, the Flyers will have better odds at winning the NHL draft lottery, where those chances currently stand at 5.8 percent.
As recently as Nov. 11, the same website had the Flyers' odds of making the postseason at 74.3 percent, higher than any other team in the Metropolitan Division. That’s when their record climbed to 9-7-1 following a 4-0 win over the Blackhawks.
For the optimist who believes the Flyers can match last year’s stretch run and reach the playoffs once again, let’s break down what needs to happen over the second half of the season.
The surprising Canadiens, currently the second wild-card team in the Eastern Conference, have 49 points at the midway point of their season. If the Canadiens simply duplicate their first-half success, then 98 points is the magic number to reach the playoffs — the exact same total the Flyers finished with last season to advance.
For the Flyers (15-20-5, 35 points) to reach that mark, they need 63 points over their final 42 games. That’s essentially a record of 27-6-9, or something resembling that mark.
That’s a winning percentage, or points percentage, of 75 percent. However, look across the league and you’ll find only the Lightning have performed at that high of a level this season.
Coming off that dreaded 10-game winless streak last season, the Flyers strung together the most successful stretch of hockey in the Dave Hakstol era as they went 26-8-3 over their next 37 games, a winning clip of 74 percent.
It will take that same level of success and perhaps even a little bit of luck for the playoffs to return to Philadelphia.
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