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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 08, 2013

The Skinny on the Playoff Chase


The Standings:
  •        3 Washington (SE Leader) 39 games 20-17-2 42 points (17 ROW) Next game: Tuesday at Montreal
  •        5. Toronto 39 games 22-13-4 48 points  (22 ROW) Next game: Wednesday at NY Rangers
  •         6  Ottawa  38 games 19-13-6 44 points  (15 ROW) Next game: Tuesday at Tampa Bay
  •         7  NY Rangers 39 games  19-16-4 42 points  (16 ROW) Next game: Wednesday vs Toronto
  •         NY Islanders 39 games 19-16-4 42 points  (16 ROW) Next game: Tuesday vs. Philadelphia
  •         9  New Jersey 39 games 15-14-10 40 points (13 ROW) Next game: Wednesday vs. Boston
  •         10 Winnipeg 40 games 19-19-2 40 points (18 ROW) Next game: Tuesday vs. Buffalo

What's a ROW?
Regulation or Overtime Wins. Wins earned in a shootout do not count towards the first tiebreaker.

Why are the Rangers 7th and the Islanders 8th?
The teams both have 42 points in 39 games, and both have 16 ROW.  Where do we go from here?  The next tie-breaker is head-to-head, but the rules state that you need to discount the first game in a city if one team has more home games.  Thus the Isles' shootout win at MSG and the Rangers' OT win at the Coliseum are the ones that count.  That tiebreaker is thus even too.  The final tiebreaker is goal differential for the entire season-- the Rangers are +2 and the Isles are -6.  This makes the Rangers 7th and the Isles 8th.

What does this mean for Saturday?
Since the Rangers won the February 7th meeting at MSG in regulation, they have five points in the season series to the Isles' three.  The Isles need a REGULATION win on Saturday to split this tie-breaker.  Obviously the Isles could finish with more regulation/overtime wins to make this tiebreaker moot, but an Isles regulation win could make the fourth tie-breaker necessary (which could in theory come down to the final score of the Ranger-Devil game on April 27th).

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 17. Of the teams currently not in a playoff spot, New Jersey can reach the highest total (58 points). 

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.

New Jersey 40 pts in 39 games. Maximum points: 58.  Clinch #: 17
Winnipeg 40 pts in 40 games.  Maximum points: 56.  Clinch #: 15
Buffalo 38 points in 39 games. Maximum points: 56.  Clinch #: 15
Philadelphia 37 points in 38 games. Maximum points: 57. Clinch # 16
Carolina 34 points in 38 games.  Maximum points: 54. Clinch #: 13
Tampa Bay 34 points in 38 games. Maximum points: 54. Clinch #: 13
Florida 32 points in 39 games. Maximum points: 50. Clinch # 9

Upcoming Games:


Tuesday, 4/9:
Buffalo at Winnipeg  -- the Jets start play 2 points behind the Isles, Rangers and Capitals but because of tie-breakers can't catch any of them on Tuesday.
Ottawa at Tampa Bay -- Ottawa leads the Isles/Rangers by two points, but trail 5th place Toronto by four points.
Philadelphia at Islanders -- The Isles will move into 7th place with a point, and could tie Ottawa in points with a victory.
Washington at Montreal -- Washington leads the Southeast by 2 points over Winnipeg.
Pittsburgh at Carolina -- The Canes were leading their division just days ago; they could fall to 14th place on Tuesday.

Wednesday, 4/10:
Boston at New Jersey
Toronto at Rangers

Thursday, 4/11:
Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay
Montreal at Buffalo
Florida at Winnipeg
Islanders at Boston
Ottawa at Philadelphia
Carolina at Washington

Friday, 4/12:
Ottawa at New Jersey

Saturday, 4/13:
Rangers at Islanders
Pittsburgh at Florida
Montreal at Toronto
Boston at Carolina
Tampa Bay at Washington
Philadelphia at Buffalo

Sunday, 4/14:
Tampa Bay at Buffalo

There are 19 days remaining in the NHL season.  The season ends on Saturday, April 27th, with 12 Eastern Conference teams in action.  Winnipeg's final game is April 25th while the Islanders and Sabres play their last game against each other on Friday, April 26.
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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