What's More Frustrating Than the Flyers Clinging to the Fourth Seed in the East?

Shawn CrouthamelCorrespondent IApril 6, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 1:  Head coach John Stevens of the Philadelphia Flyers looks on against the Washington Capitals at Wachovia Center October 1, 2008 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Flyers defeated the Capitals 2-1.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Almost every Philadelphia Flyers fan in the nation has been concerned with the team's performance of late. They have been less than consistent and lacking energy much of the time.

However, they have managed to cling to the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference for the time being.

This is frustrating because they should have, at the very least, a very comfortable cushion between themselves and the teams immediately below them in the standings.

Carolina, Pittsburgh, and Montreal are all within reach of the fourth seed but the Flyers control their own destiny. If the team plays well in their last four games of the regular season they'll hold onto the fourth spot and have home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

While we Flyers fans have all been fixated on the team's struggle to hang on to their current playoff seed we have been missing something more important. This team could be giving the New Jersey Devils a run for their money for the third seed and the Atlantic Division crown.

While the Flyers have been a lowly 5-4-1 in their last 10 games, the Devils have been an even uglier 3-6-1. Lou Lamarello's trigger finger must be twitching like mad!

If the Flyers had played decent hockey over the last 10 games and recorded a record of 7-2-1 they would be within three points of the division lead with one game in hand.

Aside from what would likely be a better first-round matchup, Flyers fans would have the joy of winning their first Atlantic Division title since the 2003-2004 season. Is it possible  the Flyers haven't won the Division since Eric Desjardins retired?

The Devils currently have a seven-point lead on the Flyers and while this is not insurmountable, I like the idea of a three-point lead much better. I can't imagine the Devils' downward spiral will continue much longer.

There are teams in the league that would love to be in the position the Flyers are in right now. Everything is relative but I can't help but think the team missed out on an opportunity.