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NHL Playoff Death Watch: Red Wings leap over Leafs; Panthers eliminated

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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.

We had a dream the other night that Roberto Luongo was so incredibly awesome with the Florida Panthers that he miraculously backstopped them to the playoffs and then the Canucks saw it and they started winning crazy mad games and made the playoffs too and then the Panthers and Canucks played for the Cup and Luongo won it in Vancouver and people were so happy that they broke windows of local businesses to place smiley face balloons inside of them and the only angry person was John Tortorella who spent 17 hours berating a house plant in his office he named “Brooksie"...

Alas, it was just a dream.

The Panthers were eliminated from playoff contention on Sunday, by virtue of the Red Wings gaining a point and the Ducks routing Florida, 6-2. Maybe next year.

Oh yeah: Detroit getting the charity point against the Minnesota Wild makes things really, really interesting in the East.

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)

-

35

21

Toronto Maple Leafs

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

-

13

19

Washington Capitals

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

19

8

16

Columbus Blue Jackets

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

20

19

20

New Jersey Devils

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

15

4

10

Carolina Hurricanes

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

13

0

1

Ottawa Senators

13th/69/25 (7H/5A)

13

0

0

New York Islanders

14th/61/20 (4H/7A)

5

-

0

The Red Wings hung tough and got a point out of Minnesota in the second half of their home and home. That tied them with the Leafs with 80 points, thanks to the Devils’ 3-2 win over Toronto, but put them in the first wild card by virtue of their regulation wins advantage.

The other thing the Leafs’ loss did? It actually gave the Capitals (10 games remaining) a game in-hand on a team they’re chasing (9).

Columbus, meanwhile, couldn’t beat Evgeni Nabokov and missed a chance to leap over the Wings and Leafs. The good news: They’re still just two points back and have two games in-hand on the Leafs.

Oh, and they get Detroit at home on Tuesday …

Big night in the conference on Monday, as the Canadiens (85 points) take on Boston, trailing Tampa Bay (86) by a point, as the Bolts host Ottawa. The Flyers host the Kings and the Rangers host the Coyotes, with the Rangers trailing Philly by a point – but the Flyers have two games in-hand.

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 1/85/29 (5H/5A)

-

73

20

Phoenix Coyotes

WILD CARD 2/79/29 (5H/6A)

-

14

38

Dallas Stars

9th/77/30 (5H/7A)

22

11

37

Vancouver Canucks

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

15

0

3

Winnipeg Jets

11th/73/26 (3H/7A)

14

0

1

Nashville Predators

12th/70/30 (5H/5A)

13

0

0

Calgary Flames

13th/65/24 (5H/6A)

8

0

0

The Canucks took two points from the Buffalo Sabres to close to within three points of the Coyotes for the last wild card. Alas, Phoenix has two games in-hand while Dallas, whom the Canucks trail by one point, have three points in-hand.

On Monday, the Stars have a chance to pass the Coyotes, as Phoenix plays at the Rangers and the Stars host the Winnipeg Jets.

By and by the way: The Ducks now have a 39.3 percent chance of winning the Presidents Trophy according to Sports Club Stats, a site that apparently doesn't take into account that the Bruins are playing in a conference filled with more cupcakes than the Hostess factory. 

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