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NHL Playoff Death Watch: Red Wings surge continues; Dallas fading

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 Detroit Red Wingsball-busting overtime win over the Pittsburgh Penguins continued their wild card push, closing to within a point of the idle New York Rangers (78) and keeping pace with the Columbus Blue Jackets (78).

How serious is this push? The Red Wings now have a 20 percent chance at winning either wild card spot.

Meanwhile, the Rangers and Blue Jackets face off tonight in Columbus in a de facto playoff game for both.

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

Toronto Maple Leafs

WILD CARD 1/80/27 (6H/5A)

-

25

21

New York Rangers

WILD CARD 2/78/33 (5H/7A)

-

12

13

Detroit Red Wings

9th/77/27 (6H/7A)

25

20

20

Washington Capitals

10th/77/26 (5H/6A)

21

4

9

New Jersey Devils

11th/73/30 (8H/4A)

19

5

10

Carolina Hurricanes

12th/69/29 (5H/8A)

17

0

2

Ottawa Senators

13th/69/25 (7H/6A)

17

0

1

New York Islanders

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

7

-

0

Florida Panthers

15th/60/19 (8H/4A)

6

-

-

The Capitals’ third-period rally to push their game with the Kings into a shootout, where they lost, kept them in the wild card hunt. But again, it’s a numbers game: The Blue Jackets and Red Wings have two games in-hand, while the Rangers have one.

The Devils’ season, meanwhile, might come down to a pair of home games this weekend against the Rangers and Leafs.

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 1/83/29 (6H/6A)

-

72

22

Phoenix Coyotes

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

-

18

43

Dallas Stars

9th/75/29 (6H/7A)

22

7

28

Vancouver Canucks

10th/74/27 (7H/3A)

15

0

2

Winnipeg Jets

11th/73/26 (4H/7A)

16

0

2

Nashville Predators

12th/68/28 (5H/7A)

13

0

0

Calgary Flames

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

10

0

0

Edmonton Oilers

14th/59/22 (8H/3A)

2

-

-

Sigh … Dallas.

The loss in Philadelphia last night was the Stars’ third in a row. Coupled with the Coyotes’ victory, Dallas is now four points out of the last wild card, although they still have a game in-hand.

We added Minnesota as a point of reference here, but there’s also still an outside chance the Coyotes could catch them. The teams play each other on March 29.

Chicago (95 points) hosts Carolina tonight, while Colorado (94 points) is in Boston.

Edmonton can be eliminated from playoff contention on Saturday. Like, officially.

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