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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'...

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Skinny on the Playoff Chase


The Standings:
  • 1 Pittsburgh (Atl Leader) 44 games 34-10-0 68 points (31 ROW) Next game: Monday at Ottawa
  • 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 Ottawa 44 games 23-15-6 52 points (19 ROW) Next game:Monday vs Pittsburgh
  • 8 NY Rangers 45 games 24-17-4 52 points (20 ROW) Next game: Tuesday at Florida
  • 9 Winnipeg 45 games 23-19-3 49 points (21 ROW) Next game: Monday at Buffalo
 Pittsburgh, Boston, Montreal and Toronto have clinched playoff berths.

If the season ended today:
#1 Pittsburgh - #8 NY Rangers
#2 Boston - #7 Ottawa
#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  - (Ottawa 44, NY Rangers 45 puts Ottawa 7th and the Rangers 8th)
  • 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 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 21 ROW and the Isles 20, the Isles will likely need to 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 four 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 and Ottawa goes no better than 3-0-1; Isles would also need to make up 23 goals in the goal-differential tie-break with Boston)

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

Remaining Eastern Conference Schedule:

Monday, 4/22:
  • Pittsburgh at Ottawa - Penguins have clinched top seed in East, but trail Chicago by five points for President's Trophy.  Ottawa will pass Isles with a win, but will fall to 8th with a regulation loss.
  • Winnipeg at Buffalo - Jets look to draw within one point of Caps prior to their showdown on Tuesday in DC.  If  Jets do not win, Isles will have opportunity to clinch playoff spot without any help on Tuesday.
Tuesday, 4/23:
Buffalo at Pittsburgh (rescheduled from 4/20)
Boston at Philadelphia 
Winnipeg at Washington
Montreal at New Jersey
Islanders at Carolina
Rangers at Florida

Wednesday, 4/24:
Toronto at Tampa Bay 
 
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 7 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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