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Greg Wyshynski

Death Watch: Caps can clinch top seed; Flyers in trouble

Greg Wyshynski
Puck Daddy

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Since we're down to the final moments of postseason life for teams in contention, Puck Daddy solemnly begins a daily countdown to annihilation.

Before we get to the teams teetering on the brink of having their hopes and dreams crushed under the weight of their own staggering malfunction, the good news: The following teams have clinched playoff spots.

East

Washington Capitals
New Jersey Devils
Buffalo Sabres
Pittsburgh Penguins

West

San Jose Sharks
Chicago Blackhawks
Phoenix Coyotes

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The Capitals can clinch the top seed in the Eastern Conference (a.k.a. "confirming the inevitable") with at least one point against the Calgary Flames and if the New Jersey Devils lose in any way to the Flyers today.

Since the Flames are giving away points like pamphlets for escort services in Vegas, things are looking good for the Caps today ...

For the Flyers, a loss to the Devils would increase the idle Thrashers' chances for the playoffs to 25.7 percent, according to Sports Club Stats, which is stunning on both fronts.

Coming up, the playoff pictures for the East and West. The full NHL standings and schedules can be found on Y! Sports.

All playoff percentages are from Sports Club Stats; the Tragic Number is from NHL Standings and Magic Numbers. The former is an industry standard; the latter is a site we discovered this week, and are hopeful that the figures are as accurate as those from NHL Playoff Race. Also: For the Percentage Chance of Making the Playoffs, we've included the figures from Hockey-Reference.com (HR), which is crunching its own numbers. It's listed with the percentage from Sports Club Stats (SCS).

(Some of you have asked, so check here for the Magic/Tragic number explanation.)

Here's the playoff picture for the Eastern Conference. Keep in mind the Tragic Numbers are in relation to the Flyers' being the No. 8 seed because Boston has a game in-hand.

Team (Games)

Place/Record/Pts.

Tragic #

% Chance of Playoffs

% Chance of 7th

% Chance of 8th

Boston Bruins (74)

7th/34-28-12/80

-

82.8 (SCS) 80.2 (HR)

29

28

Philadelphia Flyers (75)

8th/37-32-6/80

-

86.3 (SCS) 87.6 (HR)

28

22

Atlanta Thrashers (75)

9th/33-30-12/78

12

22.5 (SCS) 23.2 (HR)

6

15

New York Rangers (75)

10th/33-32-10/76

10

15.5 (SCS) 16.6 (HR)

4

11

New York Islanders (75)

11th/31-34-10/72

7

0.2 (SCS) 0.2 (HR)

0

0

Tampa Bay Lightning (75)

12th/30-33-12/72

6

0.2 (SCS) 0.2 (HR)

0

0

Florida Panthers (74)

13th/30-33-11/71

8

0.6 (SCS) 0.6 (HR)

0

1

Carolina Hurricanes (75)

14th/28-35-12/68

6

0.1(SCS) 0.1 (HR)

0

0

Toronto Maple Leafs (74)

15th/27-35-12/66

2

0.0 (SCS) -- (HR)

--

0

The Thrashers and Rangers remain very much alive, with the Flyers struggling down the stretch. Today's game against the Devils is a vital one for the Flyers, who off until Thursday after this one.

Here's the West:

Team (Games)

Place/Record/Pts.

Tragic #

% Chance of Playoffs

% Chance of 7th

% Chance of 8th

Detroit Red Wings (75)

6th/39-23-13/91

-

99.7 (SCS) 99.7 (HR)

23

18

Los Angeles Kings (74)

7th/42-26-6/90

-

99.7 (SCS) 99.9 (HR)

21

19

Colorado Avalanche (74)

8th/41-26-7/89

-

98.8 (SCS) 98.9 (HR)

26

36

Calgary Flames(75)

9th/37-29-9/83

9

1.6 (SCS) 1.3 (HR)

0

1

Dallas Stars (75)

10th/33-28-14/80

5

0.1 (SCS) 0.1 (HR)

0

0

St. Louis Blues (74)

11th/35-30-9/79

7

0.3 (SCS) 0.2 (HR)

0

0

Anaheim Ducks (73)

12th/35-31-8/78

6

0.1 (SCS) -- (HR)

0

0

Minnesota Wild (75)

13th/36-33-6/78

4

0.0 (SCS) -- (HR)

0

The Avs should raise an ice-cold Coors to the Flames and the rest of the Western field, because the pressure's off despite a 5-4-1 stretch.

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