NHL Playoff Picture: Flyers Lose Significant Ground as Percentages Sink

Devastating back-to-back losses to the Capitals and Maple Leafs have placed the Flyers in a desperate position over the final three weeks of the regular season. At this point, it would work to the Flyers' advantage if the Blue Jackets overtook the Hurricanes in the standings with two games remaining against Carolina.    

At the start of the week, the Flyers trailed the Blue Jackets by three points in the standings. Now the margin is seven back with 11 games remaining for both teams.

Wild-card standings

Carolina       38-25-7 - 83 points, 12 GR, 37 ROW
Columbus    40-28-3 - 83 points, 11 GR, 39 ROW
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Montreal      37-27-7 - 81 points, 11 GR, 35 ROW
Flyers           34-29-8 - 76 points, 11 GR, 32 ROW

Friday's games

Flyers - L 7-6 at Toronto
CBJ - W 3-0 vs. Carolina

The Flyers blew a three-goal second-period lead to the Maple Leafs despite James van Riemsdyk's hat trick (see story). It was their first regulation loss scoring six or more goals since a 9-8 loss to Winnipeg on October 27, 2011.

In Columbus, Sergei Bobrovsky made 46 saves for his 30th career shutout. It was the most saves in a shoutout in franchise history, topping the mark previously set by Steve Mason.

What are the odds?

Sports Club Stats now lists the Flyers' chances at 1.2 percent, down 6.4 percent following back-to-back regulation losses. It's the smallest odds since they were 14 points back during the bye week.

The website Money Puck has the Flyers' odds slightly higher, at 1.59 percent.

What lies ahead?

With the Flyers playing in Pittsburgh Sunday, there will be plenty of scoreboard watching on Saturday with all three of the teams they're chasing in action. 

The Blue Jackets travel to Boston in a rematch against a Bruins team they beat, 7-4, on Tuesday.

Carolina hosts a Sabres team that has been shut out in three straight games with a 2-9-2 mark over its last 13 games, while the Canadiens welcome the Blackhawks.

Strength of schedule

According to PlayoffStatus.com, the Flyers now have the seventh-toughest schedule down the stretch with nine of their 11 games against teams with better records.

• Blue Jackets - Eighth
• Hurricanes - 14th
• Canadiens - 15th

Columbus embarks on a four-game road trip starting Saturday, while Carolina opens a five-game homestand. The Canadiens have one of the easiest schedules to navigate with just one back-to-back remaining. 

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