Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Flyers likely first round opponent still Rangers

The data says the Flyers are still way more likely to face the Rangers in the opening round of the playoffs, even with their recent 1-4-2 slide.

Flyers likely first round opponent still Rangers

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Flyers goalie Steve Mason. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Flyers goalie Steve Mason. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

BOSTON -- 188 down, 7 days to go.

Thanks to an 8-1-1 run that began the month of March, whether or not the Flyers qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs is not really much of a question.

Even with this current 1-4-2 swoon - which is probably as much about human nature as it is their grind of opponents - the Flyers could finish with just one win in their last 5 games and still have a 62.8 percent shot to make the playoffs.

Of course, anything less than two wins would likely set them up for impending first round doom, perhaps against these same Bruins.

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The Devils (3 points back) are quickly creeping up on the Blue Jackets (2 points back), two teams that could potentially knock the Flyers out of the race. That is still a possibility.

If you believe in algorithms, here’s an updated look at some of these playoff numbers, according to SportsClubStats.com:

> There are 5 games left and 10 points up for grabs. No team in the NHL has more points left on the table than the Flyers.

What are the chances depending on the Flyers’ record?

6 points or more (3-2-0, 2-1-2, 1-0-4): Guaranteed in.
5 points (2-2-1, 1-1-3, 0-0-5): 98.8 percent
4 points (2-3-0, 1-2-2, 0-1-4): 94 percent
3 points (1-3-1, 0-2-3): 76.9 percent
2 points (1-4-0): 62.8 percent
2 points (0-3-2): 52.6 percent
1 point (0-4-1): 26.5 percent
0 points (0-5-0): 8.4 percent

> Using the same algorithm - which is based on 577 million simulations of strength of schedule and games played versus opponents - the Flyers’ most likely record is 3-2-0. That would make them 42-31-9 with 93 points. 

In that scenario, the Flyers’ likely first round opponent is the New York Rangers. It’s an 85 percent shot that series would begin at Madison Square Garden, where the Flyers haven’t won since 2011.

> How could the Flyers get home ice? 

With a 5-0-0 record, they would have a 78 percent shot at home-ice in the first round.

With a 4-0-1 record, they would have a 66 percent shot at home-ice in the first round.

The shift in the data comes at anything worse than 4-0-1, when one loss makes the Rangers (70 percent) more likely to begin at home. 

> In the same vein, it takes a record of 0-1-4 record or worse to be more likely to face anyone other than the Rangers in the first round - and finish in the wild card spot. That’s because the Flyers have one game in-hand on New York, New Jersey and Detroit.

With an 0-4-1 record, the Flyers’ likely first round opponent is Boston.

A 1-1-3 record (21 percent) or 0-0-5 record (23 percent) gives them their best shot at Pittsburgh.

Put another way: it would take a lot for the Flyers to face anyone other than New York in the first round.

Just some food for thought heading into the final week of the season. Enjoy the games.

For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers

Daily News Staff Writer
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