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Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Skinny on the Playoff Chase

The Maple Leafs have given the Isles even more to play for in the season's final two games as they lost to Tampa Bay 5-2 on Wednesday.  The Isles can still finish as high as 5th.

The Standings:
  • 1 Pittsburgh (Atlantic Champion) 46 games 35-11-0 70 points (32 ROW) Next game: Thursday at New Jersey
  • 2 Boston (NorthEast Leader) 45 games 27-13-5 59 points (23 ROW) Next game: Thursday vs. Tampa Bay
  • 3 Washington (SouthEast Champion) 46 games 26-18-2 54 points (22 ROW) Next game: Thursday vs. Ottawa
  • 4 Montreal 46 games 27-14-5 59 points (24 ROW) Next game: Thursday at Winnipeg
  • 5.Toronto 46 games 25-16-5 55 points (24 ROW) Next game: Thursday at Florida
  • 6 NY Islanders 46 games 24-16-6 54 points (20 ROW) Next game: Thursday at Philadelphia
  • 7 Ottawa 45 games 23-16-6 52 points (19 ROW) Next game: Thursday at Washington
  • 8 NY Rangers 46 games 24-18-4 52 points (20 ROW) Next game: Tuesday at Florida
  • 9 Winnipeg 47 games 24-20-3 51 points (22 ROW) Final game: Thursday vs. Montreal
Pittsburgh, Boston, Washington, Montreal , Toronto and the Islanders have clinched playoff berths.

If the season ended today (underlined teams are locked in to that position):
#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  - (Boston 45, Montreal 46 puts Boston 2nd and Montreal 4th; while Ottawa 45, Rangers 46 puts Sens 7th and Rangers 8th)
  • Most ROW Head-to-Head record
  • Goal differential for the entire season
It's 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) is 0. They're in!

Where Can the Isles Finish?
As high as 5th or as low as 8th

Remaining Eastern Conference Schedule:

Thursday, 4/25:
  • Pittsburgh at New Jersey -  Chicago beat Edmonton Wednesday to clinch the President's Trophy, this game is essentially meaningless.
  • Montreal at Winnipeg - This is the final game of the season for Winnipeg.  If they lose in regulation, both the Rangers and Ottawa clinch spots. Winnipeg would win a tie with both teams so the magic number for both teams to eliminate Winnipeg is 2.  Habs can finish either 2nd, 4th, or 5th.
  • Ottawa at Washington - The Sens can clinch a berth with a win (or a Jet regulation loss, or both teams losing in OT/SO). Sens trail Isles by 2 points but Ottawa has three games to play and the Isles only two.
  • Tampa Bay at Boston - The Bruins catch Tampa on the back-end of a back-to-back.  Bruins are tied in points with Montreal but have three games left to the Canadiens two.
  • Toronto at Florida - Toronto gave away control of their own home-ice destiny with a loss in Tampa.  Their magic number to clinch home ice is 3 (over both the Isles and Senators).
  • Islanders at Philadelphia - The Isles will play their first post-clinching game since 2004 (See: http://www.nyiskinny.com/2013/04/its-been-nine-years-since.html) and can finish anywhere between 5th and 8th.  If the Isles get more points than the Rangers do tonight, they'll clinch at least 7th place.
  • Rangers at Carolina - If the Rangers end up facing Pittsburgh, they can blame the Florida Panthers, who beat them again on Tuesday. Rangers could still finish as high as 5th, with LOTS of help.
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 5 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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