Despite an admirable 14-3-2 run, the Flyers have only a 1.7 percent chance to make the playoffs, according to Sports Club Stats.
Well, at least they have some hope. New Jersey, their opponent Friday night, has a zero percent chance of qualifying, the website says.
The teams will meet in Newark at 7 p.m.
The Flyers’ poor play against Metropolitan Division teams is one of the reasons they are fighting an uphill battle for a playoff spot.
They have just six wins in 17 games (6-9-2) against Metro teams, and they will face another division rival Friday. Eleven of their remaining 18 games are against Metropolitan rivals.
“Obviously, you want to have a better record against divisional opponents, but it is what it is,” right winger Jake Voracek told reporters after the Flyers salvaged a point in Thursday’s 4-3 overtime defeat in Columbus. "It’s a tough loss, but it could have been worse.”
The Devils (25-31-8) are at the bottom of the Metro standings, but they have won two of three games against the Flyers (30-26-8), who desperately need a victory to maintain their slim playoff hopes.
The Flyers are six points out of the final wild-card spot with 18 games left. They defeated the Devils in their first meetings, 5-2 (with two empty-net goals), then dropped 3-0 and 3-2 decisions to the Devils.
Goalie Cam Talbot will make his Flyers debut and will play in his first game since Feb. 9. He was acquired from Edmonton in a Feb. 15 trade for Anthony Stolarz, who has played one game for the Oilers, a relief appearance in which he allowed two goals on 20 shots.
Talbot (3.36 GAA, .893 save percentage) will be the eighth goalie to play for the Flyers this season, giving them an unwanted NHL record.
He will be facing a Devils that has seven injured players, including last year’s league MVP, Taylor Hall (29 games missed), and Kyle Palmieri (team-high 26 goals), who is listed as day to day with a lower-body injury.
Goalie Cory Schneider (3.26 GAA, .898 save percentage) will get the start for the Devils.
New Jersey’s Nico Hischier and the Flyers’ Nolan Patrick will always be linked because they were selected No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in the 2017 NHL draft.
Hischier, who has 17 goals, 43 points and a plus-4 rating, is having a more productive second season than Patrick (12 goals, 26 points, minus-5). The centers are both only 20 years old.