UPDATED [9:45 pm]: The Islanders failed to defeat Carolina in regulation, and so the Flyers must wait until Saturday to clinch a spot in the playoffs. Carolina's overtime win also prevented Washington from clinching a spot. The Flyers can earn a postseason berth with a win on Saturday in Dallas no matter what any other team does.
FARMERS BRANCH, Texas -- The mathematics are convoluted.
But the Flyers can clinch a playoff berth on Friday night - a full three weeks earlier than last season - by not even leaving their Dallas hotel rooms.
The Flyers, who practiced for 40 minutes on Friday at the Dr. Pepper Stars Center in Farmers Branch, could become the first (and only) team in the Eastern Conference to do so if:
A. New York Islanders win in regulation vs. Carolina AND New Jersey Devils loss of any kind.
B. New York Islanders win in regulation vs. Carolina AND New Jersey Devils win in OT or SO.
In layman's terms:
Carolina gets no points. Devils get less than 2 points.
The simple explanation is that those would eliminate the Flyers' tiebreaker scenarios with either team. The Devils, who lost to last place Ottawa on Thursday, cannot pass the Flyers but they can currently still tie and win the tiebreaker.
Washington can also qualify for the postseason tonight.
"Philadelphia currently has 94 points and 41 non-shootout wins. If the Hurricanes lose in regulation to the Islanders, they can max out at 94 points and 38 non-shootout wins. If the Devils defeat the Capitals in a shootout, their maximum becomes 94 points and 41 non-shooutout wins. In that scenario the Flyers would earn the spot because they have clinched the next tiebreaker (Philadelphia has seven points against New Jersey to the Devils' four with one game to play in the season series)."
A New Jersey win would also keep Washington off the Flyers' backs and prevent them from making the playoffs.
A win on Saturday in Dallas, where the Flyers have their worst road record of any city they visit, would also guarantee the Flyers a postseason berth.
What you can guarantee, though, is that there will be champagne on ice somewhere in Dallas later. Whether it's popped or not, we'll have to wait and see.
For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers
Get exclusive videos and analysis in our new app for iPhone and Android. Download it here.