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NHL Playoff Death Watch: Jackets fall to wild card; Caps, Wings alive

Walking Death Watch
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Walking Death Watch

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 Eastern Conference playoff picture was shaken up on Tuesday night thanks to Carolina’s surprising 3-1 win at Columbus.

The Blue Jackets plummeted to the last wild card slot thanks to their loss and the New York Rangers’ win over Ottawa. The Rangers (78 points) kept pace with the Flyers (79) in the second and third spots in the Metropolitan, which essentially means jockeying for home ice while avoiding a potential first round matchup with the Boston Bruins that awaits the lowest wild card.

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

Columbus Blue Jackets

WILD CARD/76/30 (7H/7A)

-

10

14

Washington Capitals

9th/76/25 (5H/7A)

24

4

10

Detroit Red Wings

10th/75/26 (7H/7A)

27

16

20

New Jersey Devils

11th/71/29 (9H/4A)

21

3

8

Ottawa Senators

12th/69/25 (8H/6A)

21

1

2

Carolina Hurricanes

13th/69/29 (5H/8A)

19

0

1

New York Islanders

14th/61/20 (5H/7A)

9

0

0

Florida Panthers

15th/60/19 (8H/5A)

10

0

0

The Red Wings (+7.2 percent) and Capitals (+8.4 percent) increased their playoff chances with wins on Tuesday night, although the Caps are racing the clock considering both Columbus and Detroit have two games in-hand on them. The Devils, meanwhile, saw their playoff probability drop by 11.1 percent with their loss to Boston.

On Wednesday night: Another key showdown between the Tampa Bay Lightning (third in the Atlantic, 81 points) and the Toronto Maple Leafs (fourth in the Atlantic, first wild card, 80 points). The Bolts, however, have two games in-hand on the Leafs.

Meanwhile in the Western Conference:

Team

Place/Record/Pts. (Games Remaining)

Tragic #

% Chance Wild Card A

% Chance of Wild Card B

Phoenix Coyotes

WILD CARD/77/28 (7H/6A)

-

16

30

Dallas Stars

9th/75/29 (6H/8A)

26

12

37

Vancouver Canucks

10th/72/26 (8H/3A)

17

0

1

Winnipeg Jets

11th/71/25 (5H/7A)

18

0

1

Nashville Predators

12th/68/28 (5H/8A)

17

0

0

Calgary Flames

13th/63/23 (6H/7A)

12

0

0

Edmonton Oilers

14th/59/22 (9H/3A)

6

-

0

The Stars remain two points out of the last wild card with a game in-hand on Phoenix, despite their loss to Pittsburgh. The Minnesota Wild have the first wild card with 82 points and 13 games remaining.

Meanwhile, Chicago (93 points) faces the St. Louis Blues (101 points) while the Colorado Avalanche (93 points) play at Winnipeg.

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