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Surprise Team Chasing Flyers in Playoff Race



Philadelphia Flyers news
The Philadelphia Flyers and Buffalo Sabres will face each other for the final time this season on April 9. (Photo: AP)

Suddenly, a berth in the NHL playoffs is looking far from a guarantee for the Philadelphia Flyers. After Monday night, the playoff race only got cloudier.

The Washington Capitals won their matchup with the Calgary Flames on Monday night, putting them within one point of the Flyers for third place in the Metropolitan Division with a game in hand. That’s not the scariest part.

If Washington overtakes the Flyers, Philadelphia will drop down to the eighth seed, or the final wildcard spot. With 76 points, the Flyers have a two-point buffer on the Detroit Red Wings, while the New York Islanders (73 points) and the Buffalo Sabres (71 points) are closing in, as both are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games.

The Flyers, on the other hand, are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games and don’t appear to be getting healthy on defense anytime soon.

Buffalo, the team that just added to their defense with Bowen Byram, is who the Flyers should be worried about.

Since Byram debuted on March 7, the Sabres are 4-2-0 and just dismantled the Seattle Kraken 6-2 on the heels of a Jeff Skinner hat trick. Byram has five points in his six games as a Sabre and gives Buffalo a scary-looking blueline that’s headlined by Owen Power and Rasmus Dahlin.

If Buffalo really has turned a corner and started to play to its true potential, the Flyers are going to be feeling more pressure than ever before. New York has a minus-20 goal differential, Washington has a minus-27 goal differential, and Detroit is 2-8-0 in its last 10.

Simply put, if the Flyers lose their grip on third place in the Metropolitan Division, the Sabres have the best chance of stealing the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has played well in goal, and Tage Thompson and Jeff Skinner are starting to score again.

With their gauntlet of a schedule not getting any easier, the Flyers must tread carefully. They’ll face the Sabres for the final time this season on April 9 in Buffalo.

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