A tale of the falling Flyers


The Philadelphia Flyers survived their toughest stretch of the 2023-24 season by winning three games (Florida, Toronto and Boston), earning points in two others (Carolina and New York Rangers) and losing four (Tampa Bay, Toronto, Boston and Florida).

Then, with the Flyers closing in on a playoff berth and entering a more manageable portion of the season with games against Montreal, Chicago, Buffalo, Columbus and Montreal), it appeared that head coach John Tortorella’s team would be postseason-bound for the first time since the 2019-20 season.

But for anybody who knows anything about Philadelphia professional sports teams, disappointment usually follows expectations. Beginning with a 4-1 loss to Florida on March 24, the Flyers went on a tragic eight-game winless streak. The only point came in a 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Islanders, who passed Philadelphia in the playoff standings.

Now, the Flyers’ playoff hopes are on life support. After all, Montreal, Chicago, Buffalo and Columbus all have losing records. But there is no such thing as an easy win for the Flyers, and they proved it.

Just when hope seemed to be lost, Philadelphia turned around and surprised the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden, 4-1. The Rangers own the top seed in the Eastern Conference with 112 points.

The win gave the Flyers 85 points, which put them in a tie with Washington and a point behind Pittsburgh for the final playoff berth. With 90 points, the Islanders seem to be a lock on the third playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division. Detroit was tied with Philadelphia and Washington in points, but both the Capitals and Red Wings are ahead of Philadelphia in the tiebreaker category.

To make a long story short, the Flyers needed to win all three of its remaining games and get help. They need to defeat Washington on Tuesday and hope the Penguins and Red Wings stumble down the stretch. On the downside, Pittsburgh, Washington and Detroit each have a game-in-hand over Philadelphia.

Then, on Saturday evening, the Flyers shook things up by defeating New Jersey 1-0 at home to bump themselves up to 87 points and past Pittsburgh for the second wild-card spot.

It was a relief to be sure. The current scenario has Philly, Detroit and Washington all with 87 points and Pittsburgh with 86.

The odds could be in Philadelphia’s favor since the Penguins play two strong teams (Nashville, and New York Islanders). Pittsburgh lost Saturday to Boston, but Washington and Detroit both won.

The only upside now is that the Flyers play the Capitals head-to-head. All they can do is hope the Penguins and Red Wings lose out and Washington loses to Boston on Monday.

Otherwise, it’s over.

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