What if? Playoff scenarios

The Flyers’ chances to miss the playoffs have almost doubled after last night's loss to Ottawa. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)

What if?

I mean, what are the chances the Flyers – whose wheels are already falling off – continue to collapse and don’t make the postseason?

Before last weekend, with 12 games to play, the Flyers held a nine point edge on a playoff spot as they were seated in fifth place in the Eastern Conference.

They have now lost three straight games and five of their last six.

Now, with nine games left, the Flyers’ chances to miss the playoffs have almost doubled with Tuesday night’s ugly shutout loss in Ottawa.

They are still in sixth place – tied with seventh place Montreal – and have a scant four point cushion on ninth place. The Flyers are just one point up on eighth place Boston, a team who has a game in-hand over them.

Look at the schedule. It’s not exactly a rosy picture.

Besides their own playoff aspirations, only two of their final eight opponents are mathematically eliminated from the postseason. The Rangers (71 points, 7 points out) could soon make that three.

The Flyers’ maximum number of points attainable is 97. N would give them a 46-31-5 record.

According to PlayoffStatus.com, the Flyers need four wins in their final nine games to all but guarantee them a playoff spot. That makes 87 points the magic number. Five wins (89 points) would make things a lot more comfortable.

Unlike last year, when 93 points were needed to attain eighth place, the teams in the jam-packed East have taken potential points away from each other.

Here’s the statistical breakdown:

0 wins in final 9 games: 99% chance to be eliminated
1 win in final 9 games: 87% chance to be eliminated
2 wins in final 9 games: 47% chance to be eliminated
3 wins in final 9 games: 12% chance to be eliminated
4 wins in final 9 games: 1% chance to be eliminated
5 wins in final 9 games: <1% to be eliminated

I’d bet that four wins in the final nine games are attainable (let’s say: Islanders, Maple Leafs, one of the two against the Rangers and one of the other five teams). That would likely give the Flyers a seventh place finish (and their division winner, likely Pittsburgh) in the first round.

The goal is always as many wins as possible. But the Flyers should be realistically shooting for at least 5 wins, which would likely land them a sixth place finish and the Northeast division winner – probably Buffalo.

It would take six or more wins to get to fifth place. That’s not going to be easy.

Then again, nothing is easy at this point in the season. Not for this team.