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NHL Playoff Death Watch: Wild Card flip-flop

Greg Wyshynski
Puck Daddy
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.

There were two flip-flops in the wild card races after Monday night.

The Tampa Bay Lightning’s 4-3 survival of the Vancouver Canucks, who scored three third-period goals, pushed them into the No. 3 seed in the Atlantic with 81 points, tying them with the Montreal Canadiens with a game in-hand. (The Habs have one more regulation win.) It dropped the Toronto Maple Leafs to the No. 1 wild card at 80 points, four ahead of the New York Rangers and six ahead of the Washington Capitals, the No. 9 team in the conference.

Meanwhile, the Phoenix Coyotes moved two points north of the Dallas Stars with their win over the Los Angeles Kings. The Yotes have 77 points in 69 games, three in back of the Minnesota Wild (who have a game in-hand).

The Stars are two points back with two games in-hand on the Coyotes.

Which teams moved closer to extinction in the West? What does the East look like?

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

New York Rangers

WILD CARD/76/32 (5H/8A)

-

8

15

Washington Capitals

9th/74/24 (5H/8A)

24

2

6

Detroit Red Wings

10th/73/25 (8H/7A)

27

11

18

New Jersey Devils

11th/71/29 (10H/4A)

23

4

12

Ottawa Senators

12th/69/28 (9H/6A)

23

1

4

Carolina Hurricanes

13th/67/28 (5H/9A)

19

0

0

New York Islanders

14th/61/20 (6H/7A)

11

0

0

Florida Panthers

15th/58/18 (8H/6A)

10

0

0

Boy howdy it’s a big night in the East.

The Rangers are in Ottawa for the Senators’ last stand. Toronto and Detroit faceoff in a critical game for the Wings. Patrick Roy and the Avalanche invade Montreal, while the Washington Capitals will try to take two points away from former coach Bruce Boudreau in Anaheim. The Devils host Boston. This wild card picture could change dramatically depending on those results.

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/9A)

28

24

37

Vancouver Canucks

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

19

0

1

Winnipeg Jets

11th/71/25 (5H/6A)

20

0

1

Nashville Predators

12th/68/28 (5H/9A)

21

0

1

Calgary Flames

13th/61/22 (7H/7A)

14

0

0

Edmonton Oilers

14th/57/21 (10H/3A)

8

-

0

The Stars still control their own destiny, hence those hefty probabilities for still making the wild card. The Stars are in Pittsburgh tonight.

Minnesota, the No. 1 wild card, visits the New York Islanders.

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