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The Skinny on The Openers

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

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Skinny on the Playoff Chase

The Isles won and got big help from Philadelphia (who beat the Rangers) and tiny help from Tampa (who lost in Winnipeg, but in a shootout).

The Standings:
·         3 Washington (SE Leader) 43 games 24-17-2 50 points (21 ROW) Next game: Thursday at Ottawa
·         5. Toronto 43 games 24-14-5 53 points  (24 ROW) Next game: Thursday vs. Isles
·         6  Ottawa  43 games 22-14-6 50 points  (18 ROW) Next game: Thursday vs. Washington
·         7  NY Islanders 43 games 22-16-5 49 points  (19 ROW) Next game: Thursday at Toronto
·         8  NY Rangers 42 games  21-17-4 46 points  (17 ROW) Next game: Thursday vs. Florida
·         9  Winnipeg 43 games 22-19-2 46 points (20 ROW) Next game: Thursday vs. Carolina
·         10 Buffalo 43 games 17-19-6 42 points (13 ROW) Next game: Wednesday at Boston
·         11 Philadelphia 43 games 19-21-3 41 points (18 ROW) Next game: Thursday vs. New Jersey
·         12 New Jersey 42 games 15-17-10 40 points (13 ROW) Next game: Thursday at Philadelphia

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 (that's why the Rangers are 8th and Winnipeg 9th)
  • Most ROW
  • 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 8. Of the teams currently not in a playoff spot, Winnipeg can reach the highest total (56 points). Since the Jets have 20 ROW and the Isles 19, the Isles will likely need to beat Winnipeg in points to finish ahead of the Jets.

Clinch #s:
The Isles will qualify for the playoffs if they can finish ahead of 7 other teams.  Here are the maximum point totals, and respective Clinch #s for the seven teams currently not in a playoff spot.
  • Winnipeg 46 points in 43 games.  Maximum points: 56.  Clinch #: 8
  • Buffalo 42 points in 43 games. Maximum points: 52.  Clinch #: 3
  •  New Jersey 40 points in 42 games. Maximum points: 52.  Clinch # 3*
  • Philadelphia 41 points in 43 games. Maximum points: 51. Clinch # 3
  • Tampa Bay 38 points in 43 games. Maximum points: 48. CLINCHED
  • Carolina 36 points in 42 games.  Maximum points: 48.CLINCHED
  • Florida 32 points in 41 games. Maximum points: 46. CLINCHED
*If Buffalo wins out they could finish with 18 ROWs but Isles already have 19 to clinch tie-break. NJ can still win 19 ROW's, which would match Isles, but Isles own head-to-head tiebreaker over NJ

Isles have clinched at least 12th place in East as they are guaranteed to finish ahead of Tampa Bay, Carolina and Florida.

Upcoming Games:


Wednesday, 4/17:
  • Montreal at Pittsburgh -- Penguins can come close to wrapping up conference with a regulation win; Montreal leads Boston by 1 point but Bruins have game in hand.  If season ended today, 7th seeded Isles would face 2nd seeded Canadiens.
  • Buffalo at Boston -- Boston is three points ahead of the Leafs for home ice (with two games in hand) and one pint behind Montreal (with one game in hand). Sabres are 4 points behind Rangers and Jets and will likely lose ROW tiebreaker to both teams.  Sabres do have games left with both NYR and WPG.

Thursday, 4/18:
Tampa Bay at Montreal
Washington at Ottawa
Islanders at Toronto
Florida at Rangers
Carolina at Winnipeg
New Jersey at Philadelphia

Friday, 4/19:
Pittsburgh at Boston
Rangers at Buffalo

Saturday, 4/20:
Buffalo at Pittsburgh
Washington at Montreal 
Toronto at Ottawa
Islanders at Winnipeg
Florida at New Jersey
Philadelphia at Carolina

Sunday, 4/21:
Florida at Boston
New Jersey at Rangers
Carolina at Tampa Bay

Monday, 4/22:
Pittsburgh at Ottawa
Winnipeg at Buffalo

There are 12 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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