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NHL Playoff Death Watch: Flyers in trouble, but not big trouble

Since we're down to the final moments of postseason life for teams in contention, Puck Daddy solemnly begins a daily countdown to annihilation. 

With the Boston Bruins thumping the Detroit Red Wings, 5-2, and the Toronto Maple Leafs upsetting the Philadelphia Flyers in overtime, 4-3, the Eastern Conference wild card race was turned on its ear on Thursday night.

We have all the clinching scenarios here in this post, as the Red Wings’ playoff fate will be determined (more than likely) on Saturday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the Islanders moved into a first-round series with the Penguins. Hooray?

Here are the current standings. The Death Watch tracks the final Wild Card spot and the teams that are chasing it. Their “tragic number” is the number of points gained by the final wild card team or lost by the team chasing it.

All playoff percentages are from Sports Club Stats; tragic numbers and other figures via the NHL. A team is eliminated from play-offs when their "Tragic Number" hits 0.

The Eastern Conference picture, via the NHL:

The East goes quiet on Friday night in preparation for Saturday’s nuttiness. The basic thing to know about the triple threat match for the wild card: If the Detroit Red Wings win in regulation or overtime, they’re in no matter what Boston does. If the Philadelphia Flyers win both of their games, in any manner, they’re in no matter what Boston or Detroit does.

Which is a fancy way of saying that the Bruins are the only team that doesn’t control its own destiny. 

Here are the latest Eastern Conference playoff odds from Sports Club Stats:


*Wild Card Teams 

As you can see, if the Wings don’t grab the No. 3 seed, getting the wild card instead may prove difficult due to the Flyers’ game in-hand.

The Islanders have two games left as well to the Rangers’ one, so the chances are good that we’ll have Penguins vs. Islanders in Round 1 and the Rangers and the Panthers, which is going FREAK FLORIDA OWNERSHIP OUT.

Meanwhile, in the West:


The Los Angeles Kings control their divisional destiny after their win over Anaheim. If they defeat the Jets on Saturday, the Kings win the Pacific no matter what the Ducks do against the Avalanche and the Capitals. 

Ducks vs. Sharks in Round 1? Well that should be awesome.

The Blues and Stars go into their final games with the conference top spot still in play. The Blackhawks and Wild won’t know their first-round foes until Saturday night.


Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.




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