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AMONG THE BEST

by Anthony SanFilippo / Philadelphia Flyers

The Flyers have just 33 games to go and in the brutally tight Eastern Conference, they are only three points ahead of non-playoff teams.

Considering as well as they’ve played in the past 34 games (69 percent of the season thus far) it just goes to show how hard it is to overcome a slow start like 1-7-0, even if that’s only eight games.

The Flyers have the fifth-best record in the NHL (and second-best in the Eastern Conference) since Claude Giroux scored his first goal – against Edmonton at the Wells Fargo Center on Nov. 9.

Still, despite bettering everyone in the conference for more than two months – the Flyers are only maintaining a three-point edge.

True, they climbed over six teams along the way to go from last in the Metropolitan Division on Nov. 8 to second in the division today, but with the way points are handed out in the NHL in overtime and shootouts, it’s hard to get separation in the standings, no matter how well you do.

With 55 points (25-19-5) the Flyers will basically have to play similarly as well over the final 33 games as they did the previous 34 (21-9-4) to guarantee a playoff berth.

It’s likely the Flyers will need to accrue 39 of a possible 66 points to guarantee that spot, which would be a record like 18-12-3. Of course, that’s definitely doable and doesn’t seem impossible, except the Flyers have the second toughest schedule remaining in the Eastern Conference with 22 of their 33 remaining games coming against current playoff teams. Only Detroit plays more (23).

And despite the Flyers playing more games at home (19) than on the road (14) the rest of the way, the split against playoff teams is identical – 11 at home and 11 on the road.

In short, the Flyers should be happy that they’ve made a huge push and par playing on par with the likes of the Ducks, Blackhawks, Penguins and Blues, but at the same time need to realize they have to continue to do the same against their toughest stretch of competition yet.

Here are the records of NHL teams since Nov. 8:

1.Anaheim Ducks24-6-452 points

2.Chicago Blackhawks22-6-751 points

3.Pittsburgh Penguins23-7-248 points

4.St. Louis Blues22-8-347 points

5.FLYERS21-9-446 points

6.San Jose Sharks21-10-244 points

7.Boston Bruins21-10-244 points

8.Los Angeles Kings19-8-644 points

9.Colorado Avalanche19-10-543 points

10.Montreal Canadiens19-9-442 points

11.Columbus Blue Jackets19-10-442 points

12.New York Rangers18-13-339 points

13.Tampa Bay Lightning17-12-539 points

14.New Jersey Devils16-12-739 points

15.Minnesota Wild18-15-137 points

16.Vancouver Canucks14-11-735 points

17.Winnipeg Jets16-14-335 points

18.Ottawa Senators15-13-535 points

19.Toronto Maple Leafs15-15-535 points

20.Carolina Hurricanes14-11-634 points

21.Washington Capitals13-11-834 points

22.Florida Panthers15-14-333 points

23.Dallas Stars13-13-632 points

24.Phoenix Coyotes12-12-731 points

25.Detroit Red Wings12-12-731 points

26.Nashville Predators13-17-531 points

27.New York Islanders13-17-430 points

28.Buffalo Sabres10-13-626 points

29.Edmonton Oilers11-19-426 points

30.Calgary Flames10-18-525 points

To contact Anthony SanFilippo, email asanfilippo@comcast-spectacor.com or follow him on Twitter @InsideTheFlyers

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