Calculating Philadelphia Flyers' Playoff Chances is Very Educational

By Sean O'Brien
Philadelphia Flyers playoffs
Anthony Gruppuso – USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Flyers haven’t dug an overly deep hole during the first month of this 48-game season. But, 17 games in they aren’t standing on solid ice either. At 7-9-1 Peter Laviolette’s squad has earned 15 out of a possible 34 points.

Yesterday’s game, a 7-0 victory over the New York Islanders, was an outlier. It was abnormal, because the Flyers have basically played to slightly below a .500 mark so far this year. That pace won’t allow them to qualify for the playoffs if current trends continue.

Each season is different, but some comparisons can be made from year-to-year. Last season the Ottawa Senators and the Washington Capitals qualified for the playoffs. Both teams earned 92 points, which was the lowest qualifying point total in the Eastern Conference.

The Los Angeles Kings posted 95 points, which was the lowest qualifying point total in the Western Conference. Of course Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and their California colleagues famously skated over every playoff opponent en route to the Kings first-ever Stanley Cup championship last season.

In an 82-game season there are 164 potential points to be gained. The difference between the lowest qualifying point total last season produced an average of approximately 57% of the total available regular season points (93, or 94) having been earned.

This season there are 96 possible regular season points to be earned in 48 games. Using the 57% mark, which is purely an estimated projection range for this season, the lowest qualifying team in either Conference would need to earn approximately 55 points to qualify for the playoffs.

The Flyers therefore need to capture approximately 40 points, out of a remaining 62 possible points, in order to gain postseason access. That’s achievable, but won’t be easy. 

Follow Sean on Twitter @SeanyOB, Facebook, Google+ and read his blog Insight.

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