Flyers

NHL playoff picture: Flyers are down and almost out

NHL playoff picture: Flyers are down and almost out

It was a disastrous weekend for the orange and black after they were swept in a back-to-back against the Islanders and Capitals, missing out on a pivotal four points.

In three days, the Flyers saw their tragic number go from 11 to five. They could be officially eliminated from contention for the Stanley Cup Playoffs as early as this week.

During a crucial stretch with little margin for error, the Flyers are now 4-6-0 over their last 10 games.

Wild-card standings

Carolina       42-26-7    91 points    7 GR        40 ROW
Montreal      40-28-8    88 points    6 GR         38 ROW
———
Columbus   41-30-4    86 points    7 GR         39 ROW
Flyers          35-29-8    80 points    6 GR         34 ROW

Sunday's games

PHI L 3-1 at Washington
CAR W 2-1 (OT) vs. Montreal
CBJ W 5-0 at Vancouver

• Braden Holtby stifled the Flyers, stopping 35 shots as the Capitals swept the orange and black for just the second time in franchise history.

• In a game pitting the two teams currently occupying wild-card positions, the Hurricanes outlasted the Canadiens as rookie Andrei Svechnikov scored the game-winner in overtime. Carey Price made 38 saves in a losing effort.   

• Sergei Bobrovsky made 21 saves for his seventh shutout of the season and the 31st of his career as the Blue Jackets remained in striking range of the Canadiens for the final wild-card spot in the East.

What lies ahead

The Flyers have a light week with a Wednesday game against the Toronto Maple Leafs before another weekend back-to-back against Carolina and the New York Rangers.

The Canadiens have three games on the slate starting Tuesday against the Panthers and a crucial game against the Blue Jackets in Columbus that could determine the final wild-card spot.

Aside from a head-to-head with Montreal Thursday, Columbus takes on the Islanders at home Tuesday with a weekend back-to-back against the Predators and the Sabres.

Playing the lottery?

As it stands right now, the Flyers are 14th out of the 15 lottery teams that would qualify for the No. 1 overall pick. 

Sad as it may seem, the Flyers have better odds of earning the top pick in the draft (1.5 percent) at this stage of the season than reaching the Stanley Cup Playoffs. As the team with the 14th-worst record in the NHL, the Flyers have a 5.0 percent chance of receiving a top-three selection.

Two years ago, the Flyers had just a 7.3 percent shot of earning a top-three draft pick when they landed at No. 2 overall and selected Nolan Patrick.

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Flyers rallying behind Oskar Lindblom after his Ewing's sarcoma diagnosis

Flyers rallying behind Oskar Lindblom after his Ewing's sarcoma diagnosis

The No. 23 jersey of Oskar Lindblom hung proudly and powerfully in the Flyers' dressing room of Xcel Energy Center.

It was a sign of unity.

The Flyers are rallying behind Lindblom, their 23-year-old brother and teammate who has been diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of cancer that occurs in bones or in the soft tissue around the bones (see story).

Teammates were emotional but strong Saturday night.

“I just went in the room and I saw it, it’s kind of tough not to be emotional," Claude Giroux told reporters before the Flyers' game against the Wild after seeing Lindblom's jersey. "But it’s good for everybody to see his jersey there.”

The team announced Lindblom's diagnosis on Friday afternoon. The Flyers then had to open a back-to-back set on the road against the Wild on Saturday and the Jets on Sunday. 

“He’s a fighter, he’ll get through this," Ivan Provorov said to NBC Sports Philadelphia's Taryn Hatcher before the game. "We love him, we’ll support him all the way and he knows we’re here for him. He’s not fighting this fight alone and we’ll do everything that we can to make sure he feels that there’s all people supporting him.”

The Flyers' captain knows that is most important.

"When one of your teammates is going to go through a fight like this, we’ll all behind him," Giroux said. "We’re there to support him. … We love Oskar a lot, he’s a strong kid."

(Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers)

(Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers)

(Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers)

(Nick Turchiaro/USA Today Images)

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Flyers at Wild: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Flyers at Wild: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

The Flyers will be playing for more than just two points Saturday night.

They'll be playing for Oskar Lindblom, their teammate who was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma. The news was announced Friday and has been followed by an outpouring of support for the 23-year-old (see story).

As they back Lindblom, the Flyers will try to move forward. Since the start of November, they've done a pretty good job of not leaving games empty-handed. The Flyers have earned at least a point in 16 of their last 20 contests, going 12-4-4.

On Saturday, the Flyers (17-9-5) will try to get back into the points column when they visit the Wild (15-12-5).

(Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers)

Let's get into the essentials:

When: 7 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: Xcel Energy Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

• An example of how consistent the Flyers have been is that they haven't lost consecutive games in regulation since Oct. 27-29. They'll try to avoid doing so Saturday night after dropping to the Avalanche, 3-1, Wednesday night.

With head coach Alain Vigneault's constant emphasis on structure and possession, the Flyers have given themselves a chance most nights.

A positive for Vigneault and company heading into the matchup with the Wild: The Flyers are tied for second in the NHL with the fewest shots allowed per game (28.8), while Minnesota puts up the second-fewest shots per game (28.6).

The Flyers have a good chance to play on their terms tonight.

• Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher and assistant general manager Brent Flahr are back in their old stomping grounds.

Fletcher was the GM of the Wild from 2009 to 2018 and Flahr was his AGM from 2010 to 2018.

Fletcher's challenge in Philadelphia was similar to the one he faced in Minnesota and here's how he fared (see story).

• The Wild have played the fewest home games in the NHL (12) and the most on the road (20). Minnesota is 8-1-3 at home and 11-3-4 overall since Nov. 5 following a 4-9-1 start.

Projected lineup

Forwards

Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
James van Riemsdyk-Morgan Frost-Tyler Pitlick
Scott Laughton-Kevin Hayes-Joel Farabee
David Kase-Mikhail Vorobyev-Chris Stewart

Defensemen

Ivan Provorov-Matt Niskanen
Travis Sanheim-Justin Braun
Shayne Gostisbehere-Philippe Myers

Goalies

Carter Hart
Brian Elliott

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