The Philadelphia Flyers are 28 games away from the end of the regular season, and as it stands, their record is 26-22-6 in 54 games (58P), which is good enough for 3rd place in the Metropolitan Division, given they have played 1 more game than the Carolina Hurricanes (57P), and the Columbus Blue Jackets (56P). While they currently sit in a playoff spot, the two aforementioned teams as well as the Washington Capitals (56P) and the New Jersey Devils (55P) all could start playing really good hockey and make a strong push for the playoffs. The Rangers are currently in 2nd place with 61 points in 55 games, meaning 6 teams are within 6 points of each other for only 2 playoff spots. The 4 Metropolitan teams (Not counting NYI) that lose out on a divisional playoff spot will have to battle with 3 competitive teams from the Atlantic division for an additional 2 playoff spots (Not counting FLA, BUF). Since these teams in the Metropolitan will all be playing numerous games with each other over the course of the rest of the season, it will be unlikely all 6 of these teams hunting for a playoff spot will have a winning record over their remaining games. Now that you can see what the playoff scenario kind of looks like, I will break down the Flyers remaining 28 games.
1 Remaining in January (Tonight, 1/30 vs. Ducks) 1 Road Game 6 Games in February (due to Olympic Break) 2 Road Games, 4 Home Games 14 Games in March (2 before Trade Deadline) 4 Road Games, 10 Home Games 7 Games in April 5 Road Games, 2 Home Games
What this means
As you can see, the Flyers have 8 games left to play before the Trade Deadline. If they were to become sellers at that point, I would anticipate they have lost 6-8 of those games and have plummeted in the standings. They also play 16 games at home, 12 on the road. They play better at home (14-10-1) than on the road (12-12-5), so they would like to take advantage of the amount of games left at home, but will also need to improve on their road record in order to be a playoff team.
March and April are busy months, playing 14 games in 31 days in March, and 7 games in 13 days in April. Thankfully, in the month of March, 10 of those games are at home, so they will not be traveling as much on off nights as other teams may. However, in April, they play 5 games on the road in 13 days, so the team may be worse for wear. However they will need to win those games in order to go into the playoffs with any sort of momentum. If they just want to make the playoffs, however, they need to win a lot of games in February and March to make the rough first half of April not as difficult on their season.
Quality of Competition
Below is a look at the teams they play, broken up into categories of "Division Leaders", "#2-3 in Division", "Wild Card", "Fringe Playoff Teams", and "Bottom 5" in the NHL, all with win percentages and the amount of games against teams the Flyers play multiple times.
Flyers: .537 Point%
Ducks .754, Penguins (3) .717, Blackhawks .705, Bruins (2) .682
2-3 in Division
Kings (2) .600, Sharks (2) .685, Avalanche .682, Rangers (2) .554, Blues (2) .740, Maple Leafs (2) .563, Lightning .632
Wild Card Team
Capitals (2) .528, Stars .528, Blue Jackets .528, Devils .509,
Bottom Five Teams
Sabres .346, Panthers .462, Flames .424
As you can see, the Flyers only play 3 games against teams in the bottom 5 of the NHL (where any record other than 3-0-0 will be unacceptable). They also play 7 games against current division leaders, including 3 against the Pittsburgh Penguins and 2 against the Boston Bruins. I would like to see the Flyers get 3-4 wins against those teams. Aside from those 10 games, the Flyers play 8 more games against teams with a Points% greater than .600 (currently 2-3 in their divisions), where they will also need to get 4-6 wins. This leaves them with 10 games against teams right around their level of play. They will need to win 6-8 games against these teams to be in line for a playoff spot. Overall, in 28 games, I would like to see them win 17-20 games. 20 wins and 8 losses is a lot to ask of a team, especially with a tight schedule in March and April, but the Flyers dug themselves into a hole early in the season. 17 wins is pretty doable depending on the Flyers' level of play over the rest of the season. If you look at http://www.sportsclubstat...politan/Philadelphia.html
you can see the that if the Flyers finished 17-8-3 they would currently have a 100% chance of making the playoffs, as opposed to the 37.2% chance they currently have. Winning 14-16 games in this stretch would be a bit disappointing to me, but if they won 13 games or less over the rest of the season, I would expect some major changes to come in the offseason.
The Flyers have a moderately difficult schedule ahead of them, but every team will have the same scheduling issues in March and April. Let's hope they put a good run together and make the playoffs.