NHL playoff picture: Flyers get no help, fall to five back

John Boruk
NBC Sports Philadelphia

NHL playoff picture: Flyers get no help, fall to five back originally appeared on nbcsportsphiladelphia.com

After narrowing the gap in the wild-card chase to just three points Monday, the closest they've been to a playoff spot since Nov. 20, the Flyers received no help from the Bruins and Red Wings as they dropped to five points back in the standings following Tuesday night's slate.

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Wild-card standings

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Tuesday's games

CBJ - W 7-4 vs. Boston
MTL - W 3-1 vs. Detroit

• The Blue Jackets nearly totaled their goal output from their previous six games by putting up seven goals on the Boston Bruins. Trade deadline acquisitions Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel scored goals and Boone Jenner added a hat trick.

Canadiens goaltender Carey Price stopped 20 shots to notch career win No. 315, passing Jacques Plante on the Canadiens' all-time wins list.

What are the odds?

Sports Club Stats lists the Flyers' chances to make the playoffs at 7.6 percent, up 2.2 percent following their win over Ottawa. The website Money Puck has the Flyers' odds slightly lower at 6.2 percent.

What lies ahead? 

The Flyers have one game in hand on both Columbus and Montreal, which they will play this weekend. The Flyers have a gauntlet with a critical three games over a four-day stretch that includes a back-to-back with the Capitals followed by a road game in Toronto with a Sunday game at Pittsburgh - their final game against their cross-state rival.

The Blue Jackets have a Friday/Saturday back-to-back with a home game against the Hurricanes followed by a trip to Boston to face the Bruins again.

Like Columbus, the Canadiens have just two games this weekend, as well, as they travel to New York to face the Islanders Thursday before returning home to host the Blackhawks.

Strength of schedule

According to PlayoffStatus.com, the Flyers have the third-toughest schedule down the stretch with 11 of their 13 games against teams with better records.

However, it doesn't appear to be any easier for the Canadiens (second toughest) or the Hurricanes (fourth toughest). The Blue Jackets are roughly middle of the pack with the 14th-toughest schedule. 

But Columbus has just four more home games remaining in the regular season while it still has to travel to Western Canada to face the Oilers, Flames and Canucks. 

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