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"The Skinny" … on the Openers By Eric Hornick The NHL released the schedule for the 2016-17 season on Tuesday.  It'...

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Skinny on the Playoff Chase: Is Tonight the Night?

The Penguins kept the Isles in 6th place and dropped the Sens into 8th by beating Ottawa; the Jets closed within one point of Washington, Ottawa and the Rangers by beating Buffalo.
Winnipeg also kept the Isles' magic number at 3, meaning the Isles will need help on Tuesday-- but if they get it, April 23rd 2013 will be a playoff clinching night.


The Standings:
  • 1 Pittsburgh (Atl Leader) 45 games 35-10-0 70 points (32 ROW) Next game:Tuesday vs. Buffalo
  • 2 Boston (NE Leader) 44 games 27-12-5 59 points (23 ROW) Next game: Tuesday at Philadelphia
  • 3 Washington (SE Leader) 45 games 25-18-2 52 points (22 ROW) Next game: Tuesday vs. Winnipeg
  • 4 Montreal 45 games 27-13-5 59 points (24 ROW) Next game:Tuesday at New Jersey
  • 5.Toronto 45 games 25-15-5 55 points (24 ROW) Next game:Wednesday at Tampa Bay
  • 6 NY Islanders 45 games 24-16-5 53 points (20 ROW) Next game: Tuesday at Carolina
  • 7 NY Rangers 45 games 24-17-4 52 points (20 ROW) Next game: Tuesday at Florida
  • 8 Ottawa 45 games 23-16-6 52 points (19 ROW) Next game:Thursday at Washington
  • 9 Winnipeg 46 games 24-19-3 51 points (22 ROW) Next game: Tuesday at Washington
 Pittsburgh, Boston, Montreal and Toronto have clinched playoff berths.

If the season ended today:
#1 Pittsburgh - #8 Ottawa
#2 Boston - #7 NY Rangers
#3 Washington - #6 Islanders
#4 Montreal -#5 Toronto
 
What's a ROW?
 Regulation or Overtime Wins. Wins earned in a shootout do not count towards the first tiebreaker.

What are the tie-breakers?
  • Fewest games played  - (Boston 44, Montreal 45 puts Montreal 2nd and Montreal 4th)
  • Most ROW - (NY Rangers 20, Ottawa 19 puts Rangers 7th and Ottawa 8th)
  • Head-to-Head record
  • Goal differential for the entire season
Isn't it Magic?
The Islanders' magic number (points earned by the Islanders or lost by the team that is not in a playoff position but has the highest possible points) for clinching a playoff spot is 3. The only team not currently in a playoff spot that can reach the playoffs is Winnipeg.  The Jets can reach 55 points. Since the Jets have 22 ROW and the Isles 20, the Isles must beat Winnipeg in points to finish ahead of the Jets.

Why Does the Southeast Leader Matter?
The Isles now have 53 points,  one more than Washington and two more than Winnipeg.  Both Washington and Winnipeg would need to finish ahead of the Isles for the Isles to miss the playoffs.

Isles have clinched at least 9th place in East as they are guaranteed to finish ahead of New Jersey, Buffalo, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Carolina and Florida. (The Isles have finished 13th or lower in each of the last five seasons.)

Where Can the Isles Finish?

Isles can finish...
As high as 4th (win last three, all in regulation while Boston loses last 4, all in regulation while Toronto gets no more than three points; Isles would also need to make up 23 goals in the goal-differential tie-break with Boston)

 or as low as 9th (Winnipeg earns two more points in final two games than Isles do in final three and Rangers, Ottawa and Caps all pass Isles)

Remaining Eastern Conference Schedule:

Tuesday, 4/23:
  • Islanders at Carolina - Islanders can clinch playoff spot with EITHER:  Islander win and Winnipeg loss (of any type) or Islander ot/shootout loss and Winnipeg regulation loss.
  • Buffalo at Pittsburgh (rescheduled from 4/20)- Pittsburgh closed within 3 points of Chicago for the President's Trophy with their win over Ottawa and the Hawks loss in Vancouver
  • Boston at Philadelphia - The B's magic number for clinching the 2nd seed is 7, which could go down to the make-up game on Sunday.
  • Winnipeg at Washington - The biggest game of the night.  Winnipeg can regain the SE lead for the first time since 4/3 with a regulation win, but a Caps regulation win clinches the division for Washington.
  • Montreal at New Jersey - The slumping Canadiens need a regulation/overtime win to keep the pressure on Boston and keep themselves in good shape for home ice.  If Montreal loses in regulation, Toronto controls fate for home ice and would finish ahead of Montreal if they win final three (including Saturday vs Montreal in regulation)
  • Rangers at Florida - The Rangers moved up to 7th for the first time in 2 weeks by not playing last night; they are tied with Ottawa, but NYR have one more regulation/overtime win.
Wednesday, 4/24:
  • Toronto at Tampa Bay  They'll need a lot of help to get there but the Leafs could still win the Southeast if Boston and Montreal both falter.
Thursday, 4/25:
Pittsburgh at New Jersey
Montreal at Winnipeg
Ottawa at Washington
Tampa Bay at Boston
Toronto at Florida
Islanders at Philadelphia
Rangers at Carolina

Friday, 4/26:
Islanders at Buffalo

Saturday, 4/27:
Carolina at Pittsburgh
Montreal at Toronto
Boston at Washington
Philadelphia at Ottawa
New Jersey at Rangers
Florida at Tampa Bay

Sunday, 4/28:
Ottawa at Boston
 
There are 6 days remaining in the NHL season. The season now ends on Sunday, April 28 with a game between Ottawa and Boston. 10 other Eastern Conference teams will end their season on April 27th. The Islanders face the Sabres in their final game on Friday, April 26 while the Jets play their final game on April 25th.
 
Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since January 21, 1982. Visit my blog: NYISkinny.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

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