Currently sitting in the second wildcard spot, the Flyers are a fringe-playoff team at this point in the season. They’re playing well enough, but something is clearly off. There’s something that the cream-of-the-crop in the NHL have, that the Flyers don’t. The Flyers are not winning enough on the road.
It’s a simple concept, one that many of you have thought of before as well. The Flyers are tied for the second-best home record in the NHL with Pittsburgh. Boston leads the NHL with a 19-2-9 record at TD Garden. The Flyers (19-5-4) are outstanding at home. The goalies are a big reason for that. Carter Hart’s home stats are out of this world. He’s 14-2-2 with a .941 save percentage and a 1.65 goals against average. On the road, he’s been atrocious.
Standing at 12-14-3, the Flyers have some major work to do. It’s not a terrible road record, but a playoff team should be winning more games in regulation on the road than they are losing. With eight of their final 12 games coming against teams currently on the outside looking into the playoff picture, the Flyers have a great chance at bolstering that away record.
Out of 12 teams filling a divisional playoff spot, 11 of them have winning road records. Some have the best road records in the NHL.
- Washington Capitals (20-6-1)
- Pittsburgh Penguins (15-10-2)
- New York Islanders (15-9-2)
- Boston Bruins (15-9-3)
- Tampa Bay Lightning (19-8-3)
- Toronto Maple Leafs (15-12-1)
- St. Louis Blues (14-10-4)
- Colorado Avalanche (18-9-2)
- Dallas Stars (15-10-3)
- Vancouver Canucks (13-15-2)***
- Edmonton Oilers (15-11-2)
- Calgary Flames (16-12-2)
Vancouver is the only team in the top three of a division to have a losing record on the road. They’re currently fourth in the Western Conference, leading a less-than-stellar Pacific division. Digging even further, to teams that currently have a winning record (12), 10 of them have winning road records.
- Buffalo Sabres (9-14-4)***
- Carolina Hurricanes (14-12-2)
- Columbus Blue Jackets (12-7-7)
- Florida Panthers (14-10-4)
- Montreal Canadiens (14-9-3)
- New York Rangers (12-11-2)
You have the Florida Panthers, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Carolina Hurricanes out of the Eastern Conference playoff race. All three have winning road records. The Montreal Canadiens & New York Rangers, while a long-shot to make the playoffs, all have winning road records as well. The Buffalo Sabres are the only team in the Eastern Conference to have a winning record overall, but a losing road record. They’re also 11 points out of a playoff spot, currently.
- Arizona Coyotes (15-12-4)
- Chicago Blackhawks (13-11-4)
- Minnesota Wild (10-15-2)***
- Nashville Predators (15-11-3)
- Vegas Golden Knights (14-12-4)
- Winnipeg Jets (15-11-2)
Vegas and Arizona lead the way for a wildcard spot in the Western Conference, each with 64 points and a winning road record. Winnipeg is one point behind in the wildcard race, while Nashville sits five points out and Chicago sits six points back. The Minnesota Wild, the conferences only team above .500 with a winning losing road record, sits four points out of a playoff spot.
The Anaheim Ducks, Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings, New Jersey Devils, Ottawa Senators, and San Jose Sharks all have losing records, and a road record to match. Anaheim sits 11 points out of a playoff spot, with San Jose 12 points out, and Los Angeles a total of 21 points out of the playoffs.
As for the Eastern Conference, the Devils sit 19 points back in the wildcard race, while Ottawa is 22 points out and Detroit is a whopping 37 points back in the Eastern Conference wildcard race.
What Does This All Mean?
The Flyers are lucky to be hanging onto the last wildcard spot in the East. Their home performances have made up for the fact that they’ve been sub-par on the road. That won’t be the case down the stretch, as the Flyers have a tough schedule to close out the year.
Any other team with a winning record, but losing road record finds themselves on the outside looking in right now. While the Flyers are an anomaly, it likely won’t stand if they can’t improve their record on the road. The team is too good to falter down the stretch, but falter they will if they can’t improve upon their record when they’re playing outside of Philadelphia.
As mentioned before, the Flyers have eight games remaining on the road against teams outside of a playoff spot. If they can take a majority of those games and improve that road record, there’s no reason for them not to storm into the playoffs. If they slip up, and drop too many of those games, fans could be in for a disappointing ending to the 2019-20 season.
Mandatory Credit – © Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports