If I told you that a measly three points would be the difference maker between six teams for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference come the end of February, would you believe me? Heck, I’m not too sure I’d believe me. Well, it’s time to start coming to that realization, because currently that’s the case. The No. 8 seed Detroit Red Wings (64) currently hold a one point lead over the No. 9 seed Columbus Blue Jackets (63). One may be the loneliest number, but it’s the number that quite a few teams will be gunning for these final two months of the season.
Sitting comfortably numb at the No. 6 seed in all the Eastern Conference craziness is the Philadelphia Flyers. It will be no cakewalk for them either. Philly only has a two-point lead over eighth-seeded Detroit.
Going into the Olympic break, Philadelphia was perhaps the hottest team in the NHL. Not only did they win four straight, but they managed to win five of six and knock off two of the league’s top six teams in the same process. The crafty and clutch play of the orange and black is more important now than it has been all season. This streak is vital to their playoff hopes.
With 23 games left to play this season, Philly will see 16 of the games hosting a team that is currently in playoff position. In those 16 games, they’ll see 10 different opponents. The Red Wings are currently the lowest-seeded team in the current playoff hunt with only 64 points. The average point total of Philadelphia’s remaining opponents is 67.8, almost a full two points more than the Flyers. That number just goes to show how tough it will be for Philly down the stretch.