By Lewis Gould

The Flyers’ March meltdown continued last night, and now their once-solid playoffs hopes seem to be in jeopardy.

The Columbus Blue Jackets won their sixth straight game and moved into the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference with a 5-3 victory against the Flyers.

Cam Atkinson had a hat trick, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Boone Jenner scored, and former-Flyer Sergei Bobrovsky made 26 saves for Columbus.

The Blue Jackets (38-28-5) moved one point ahead of the New Jersey Devils and matched the Flyers with 81 points in the race for third place in the Metropolitan Division, but Philly holds the spot because it has one more regulation/overtime win (33-32).

Andrew MacDonald had a goal and an assist for the Flyers (35-25-11), who lost for the seventh time in eight games (1-6-1), including four of five at home. Claude Giroux and Shayne Gostisbehere scored, and Alex Lyon made 18 saves in relief of starting goaltender Petr Mrazek, who allowed four goals on 10 shots.

The Flyers said they felt they weren’t ready at the start of the game, and coach Dave Hakstol shouldered the blame.

“Their team was a little more ready to play and that squarely comes to me,” he said. “I thought their team was a little more ready to play in that first 20 minutes, and that can’t happen at this time of year.”

The Blue Jackets took a 2-0 lead on goals 11 seconds apart by Bjorkstrand (9:41) and Jenner (9:52) in the first. Giroux scored at 11:34 to make it 2-1, then Atkinson tipped a shot by Zach Werenski past Mrazek with 1:52 left in the period to put Columbus ahead 3-1.

After Gostisbehere scored on the power play 14 seconds into the second period to make it 3-2, Atkinson beat Mrazek off the rush from the right side at 3:23 of the period to give the Blue Jackets a 4-2 lead.

The Flyers had a meeting after the game.

“We just talked about the position we’re in right now and what we need to do to get better,” Giroux said. “Right now, we’re all frustrated, a little [ticked] off. But that’s good. When we get that one win, we’ll get our confidence back.”

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