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NHL Playoff Death Watch: Dallas closes wild card gap; Eastern bubble bobble tonight

Stars edge Jets for 2-1 victory
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Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin (91) celebrates scoring his goal with teammates Alex Goligoski (33), Jamie Benn (14) and Alex Chiasson (12) during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Winnipeg Jets Monday, March 24, 2014, in Dallas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

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

The Dallas Stars’ 2-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets, combined with the Phoenix Coyotes’ overtime loss in New York, pushed them to within a point of the last wild card spot in the West.

Oh, and they have a game in-hand. Oh, and Mike Smith got totally hurt last night.

We look at another big night on the bubble in both conferences in today’s Death Watch

Here are the current standings. The Death Watch tracks the final Wild Card spot and the teams that are chasing it. Their “tragic number” is the number of points gained by the final wild card team or lost by the team chasing it.

All playoff percentages are from Sports Club Stats; tragic numbers and other figures via the NHL. A team is eliminated from play-offs when their "Tragic Number" hits 0.

Here’s the Eastern Conference picture:

Team

Place/ Pts./ROW (Games Remaining)

Tragic #

% Chance 1st Wild Card

% Chance of 2nd Wild Card B

Detroit Red Wings

WILD CARD 1/80/28 (5H/6A)

-

39

21

Toronto Maple Leafs

WILD CARD 2/80/27 (5H/4A)

-

14

20

Washington Capitals

9th/79/25 (5H/5A)

19

8

16

Columbus Blue Jackets

10th/78/31 (6H/5A)

20

4

10

New Jersey Devils

11th/75/31 (6H/4A)

15

4

10

Carolina Hurricanes

12th/71/30 (5H/6A)

13

0

1

Ottawa Senators

13th/71/25 (7H/4A)

13

0

1

New York Islanders

14th/63/21 (4H/7A)

5

-

-

The four teams surrounding the bubble are all in action tonight.

The Red Wings and Blue Jackets face off in a critical game for both in Columbus. The Leafs host the St. Louis Blues, the best team in the West. The Capitals host the Los Angeles Kings, who are coming off a win in Philly last night.

Here’s how incredibly tight the Eastern Conference wild card is: Depending on the outcomes, the Leafs could find themselves in the first wild card or in 10th place by night’s end.

Higher in the standings, the Rangers regained a one point lead over the Flyers, but Philly has two games in-hand. Montreal’s shootout win over Boston tied them in points with Tampa Bay, who lost a shootout to Ottawa.

Meanwhile in the Western Conference:

Team

Place/Record/Pts. (Games Remaining)

Tragic #

% Chance Wild Card A

% Chance of Wild Card B

Minnesota Wild

WILD CARD 1/85/30 (5H/5A)

-

71

21

Phoenix Coyotes

WILD CARD 2/80/29 (5H/5A)

-

14

35

Dallas Stars

9th/79/31 (4H/7A)

21

14

41

Vancouver Canucks

10th/76/28 (6H/3A)

14

0

2

Winnipeg Jets

11th/73/26 (3H/6A)

11

0

0

Nashville Predators

12th/72/30 (5H/5A)

12

0

0

Calgary Flames

13th/67/24 (4H/6A)

7

-

0

The Jets played hard in Dallas, but their loss drops their tragic number to 11.

The Coyotes are in Pittsburgh tonight to face a Penguins team that’s 26-6-2 on home ice. The Stars are in Chicago tonight to face a Blackhawks team that’s 23-7-7 on home ice.

Keep in mind that these two knuckleheads close the season out in Phoenix, so we might be doing this dance until the end.

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