The Flyers Can Actually Move Into Playoff Position With a Win Tonight

They beat the Red Wings last night, 4-3, to move just a point back of the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot. Next up: Chicago.

Philadelphia Flyers right wing Wayne Simmonds  celebrates his goal against the Detroit Red Wings.

Philadelphia Flyers right wing Wayne Simmonds celebrates his goal against the Detroit Red Wings.

The Flyers edged the Red Wings last night, 4-3. Shayne Gostisbehere’s third-period pass deflected off a Detroit skater and went into the net, giving the Flyers a two-goal lead. When the Red Wings scored to cut the deficit back to one, the rookie gave the Flyers the eventual margin.

Michael Raffl also scored twice for the Flyers, who jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first period. Philly outshot Detroit 23-3 in the first.

“I think it was the best start I think we’ve had all year,” said Wayne Simmonds. “It’s the biggest game of the year for us. And everyone was pretty damn pumped.” Simmonds scored the Flyers’ other goal.

The Flyers now have 78 points. They’re just a point behind Detroit for the last Wild Card spot. But they have two games in hand on the Red Wings, and so tonight’s game against the Blackhawks is a chance for the Flyers to move into the final playoff spot.

“Chicago’s probably one of the top two, three teams in the league,” Simmonds said. “They’ve got a heck of an offense; they’re really good on transition as well.”

The Flyers are probably a year ahead of schedule on their rebuild; most of Ron Hextall‘s moves since becoming general manager have been praised because they’re setting the Flyers up for the future. But now they’re in the thick of the playoff race with just 14 games to play.

The schedule gets harder from here. In addition to a four-game road trip, the Flyers still have five back to backs including tonight’s game. They still have to play eight games against teams currently ahead of them in the standings. But even if they miss the playoffs, being this close in 2016 is a good sign for the team’s future.

The Flyers play the Blackhawks tonight at 8:00. It’s on CSN.

Follow @dhm on Twitter.