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Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Skinny on the Playoff Chase

The Islanders lost in regulation for the first time since March 30th, but it is a costly defeat as it drops the Isles into 8th place in the East.  The Isles must get points in Buffalo, and then get help in order to avoid Pittsburgh in the first round.  Meanwhile, Ottawa and the Rangers clinched the final spots, leaving Winnipeg outside the playoff door.  The Jets then gave up three goals in the third to Montreal, which clinched home-ice for the Canadiens, while Toronto's shutout win in Florida clinches at least 6th place for the Leafs.
The Standings (all teams have clinched):
  • 1 Pittsburgh (Atlantic Champion) 47 games 35-12-0 70 points (32 ROW) Final game: Saturday vs. Carolina
  • 2 Boston (NorthEast Leader) 46 games 28-13-5 61 points (24 ROW) Final games:  Saturday at Washington, Sunday vs. Ottawa
  • 3 Washington (SouthEast Champion) 47 games 26-18-3 55 points (23 ROW) Final game: Saturday vs. Boston
  • 4 Montreal 47 games 28-14-5 61 points (25 ROW) Final game: Saturday at Toronto
  • 5.Toronto 47 games 26-16-5 57 points (26 ROW) Final game: Saturday vs. Montreal
  • 6 Ottawa 46 games 24-16-6 54 points (20 ROW) Final games: Saturday vs. Philadelphia, Sunday at Boston
  • 7 NY Rangers 47 games 25-18-4 54 points (21 ROW) Final game: Saturday vs. New Jersey
  • 8 NY Islanders 47 games 24-17-6 54 points (20 ROW) Final game: Friday at Buffalo
If the season ended today (underlined teams are locked in to that position):
#1 Pittsburgh - #8 Islanders
#2 Boston - #7 NY Rangers
#3 Washington - #6 Ottawa
#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 46, Montreal 47 puts Boston 2nd and Montreal 4th; while Ottawa 46, Rangers 47 puts Sens 6th and Rangers 7th)
  • Most ROW (Rangers 21, Isles 20 puts Rangers 7th and Isles 8th)
  •  Head-to-Head record
  • Goal differential for the entire season
What do the tie-breakers mean to the Islanders?

The Isles will LOSE any tie in points with the Rangers; the Isles coach still tie the Rangers in ROWs but the Rangers won the head-to-head series.
The Isles can still finish with more ROWs than Ottawa (both teams have 20), but if this stays tied, Ottawa won the head-to-head series.

Where Can the Isles Finish?
As high as 6th or as low as 8th

Isles will finish 6th  IF

  • Isles get 1 point vs. Buffalo and neither Ottawa or the Rangers earn a point in their final games  OR
  • Isles get 2 points vs. Buffalo and neither Ottawa or the Rangers earn more than 1 point in their final games OR
  • Isles beat Buffalo in regulation/overtime, the Rangers earn no more than 1 point, and Ottawa goes 0-0-2 or 1-1-0 with their win coming in a shootout
Isles will finish 8th IF
  • Isles lose in regulation to Buffalo OR
  • Isles lose in overtime/shootout to Buffalo and both Ottawa and the Rangers earn at least one point in their final games OR
  • Isles beat Buffalo in regulation/overtime but Rangers beat New Jersey and Ottawa wins one of their final two games in either regulation/overtime OR
  • Isles beat Buffalo in regulation/overtime but Rangers beat New Jersey and Ottawa goes 1-0-1 or 2-0-0 in final two games OR
  • Isles beat Buffalo in shootout but Rangers beat New Jersey and Ottawa earns at least 2 points in final 2 games
Isles will finish 7th IF
  • None of the above happen

Remaining Eastern Conference Schedule:

Friday, 4/26:
  • Islanders at Buffalo - Isles can still finish 6th, but will be locked into 8th place with a regulation loss.  Isles are winless in their last four season finales (0-3-1) and have lost their final road game in each of the last four years (0-4-0).
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 3 days remaining in the NHL season. 
Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since January 21, 1982. Visit my blog: and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

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