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The Skinny: Isles 4, Rangers 3 (shootout)

"The Skinny" By Eric Hornick Game 7 Isles 4, Rangers 3 (SO) Matthew Barzal scored his first NHL goal early in the second period to...

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Skinny on the Playoff Chase

The Penguins put a stranglehold on the Top seed by beating Montreal, while Boston blew a lead lead and lost to Buffalo in a shootout in the first sporting event in that city since the senseless Marathon massacre.  The Bruins are now tied with Montreal for the Northeast lead, but Montreal has 1 more ROW and also owns the head-to-head tie-breaker.  Buffalo's win also makes their game against the Rangers a potential big game.

Speaking of which -- you should watch this pre-game presentation from TD Garden:
http://t.co/3Mw01KUfzq

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 44 games 18-19-6 44 points (13 ROW) Next game: Friday vs Rangers
  • 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 44 points in 44 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 17 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:

Thursday, 4/18:
  • Tampa Bay at Montreal - Montreal in dogfight for division lead (and #2 seed); Tampa could be eliminated.
  • Washington at Ottawa - One of the teams the Isles are chasing has to lose.  Biggest wish- a two point game, not three.
  • Islanders at Toronto -  Biggest game between the teams since 2002.
  • Florida at Rangers - NYR have easiest remaining schedule, but that was true before they lost to Philly too.  First of two games left with Panthers for NYR.
  • Carolina at Winnipeg - Hey Kirk Muller, how about a small repayment for what you did to Isles in 1995?  A 'Cane regulation win and an Isles win in Toronto would set up a potential playoff clincher for Isles on Saturday.
  • New Jersey at Philadelphia - Flyers dumped Devils into last place in division by beating Rangers on Tuesday.
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 11 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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