Puck Daddy - NHL

 

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 bottom of the Eastern Conference bracket is just nauseatingly inconsistent, as the Philadelphia Flyers, Boston Bruins and Atlanta Thrashers all blew yet another chance to exert some level of control on their respective playoff destinies with losses on Thursday night.

(We're pretty convinced every player on these teams must have unbreakable vacation plans, and that a first-round playoff series would cost them hefty security down-payments on their beach condos ...)

The Flyers' loss to the Islanders dropped their playoff probability to 90.4 percent, via Sports Club Stats. The Bruins, shut out by Florida on home ice, are down to 77.9 percent. Atlanta, which lost to a Capitals team with nothing to play for, is down to 10.5 percent.

Meanwhile, the Habs are up to 88.6 percent probability that they'll be a playoff team, while the New York Rangers continue to see their chances increase (32.1 percent) as they have a game in-hand on the teams they're four points behind. At the moment, there's a better chance the Rangers finish eighth in the East (18 percent) than Calgary will finish eighth in the West (10 percent).

Like we said: At the moment. Because the Flames are in Denver Friday night for what's a playoff game for both teams. Fire. Up. The. Center. Ice.

Coming up, the playoff pictures for the East and West, including two key games for Eastern Conference bubble teams Friday. The full NHL standings and schedules can be found on Y! Sports.

All playoff percentages are from Sports Club Stats; the Tragic Number is from NHL Standings and Magic Numbers. The former is an industry standard; the latter is a site we discovered this week, and are hopeful that the figures are as accurate as those from NHL Playoff Race. Also: For the Percentage Chance of Making the Playoffs, we've included the figures from Hockey-Reference.com (HR), which is crunching its own numbers. It's listed with the percentage from Sports Club Stats (SCS).

(Some of you have asked, so check here for the Magic/Tragic number explanation.)

Here's the playoff picture for the Eastern Conference. Keep in mind the tragic numbers are based on Boston now being the eighth seed, hence some variation from Thursday:

Team (Games)

Place/Record/Pts.

Tragic #

% Chance of Playoffs

% Chance of 7th

% Chance of 8th

Philadelphia Flyers (77)

6th/38-33-6/82             

-

90.4 (SCS) 89.5 (HR)

25

15

Montreal Canadiens (77)

7th/37-32-8/82

-

88.6 (SCS) 83.3 (HR)

34

24

Boston Bruins (77)

8th/35-30-12/82             

-

77.9 (SCS) 76.5 (HR)

29

33

Atlanta Thrashers (78)

9th/34-32-12/80             

7

10.5 (SCS) 11.9 (HR)

2

8

New York Rangers (76)

10th/34-32-10/78             

9

22.3 (SCS) 32.5 (HR)

10

18

Carolina Hurricanes (78)

11th/33-35-10/76             

3

0.3 (SCS)    0.3 (HR)

0

0

New York Islanders (77)

12th/32-35-10/74             

3

0.1 (SCS)   -- (HR)

0

0

Florida Panthers (77)

13th/31-34-12/74

3

0.0 (SCS)   -- (HR)

0

0

Tampa Bay Lightning (77)

14th/31-34-12/74

3

0.0 (SCS)   -- (HR)

0

0

The Rangers face the Lightning Friday night in Tampa, and as Rick Carpiniello pointed out about Thursday night's action:

Everybody the Rangers needed to lose lost. And now it's all right there. Put together some wins, and the playoffs are right there for the taking. This is one of the craziest races ever. The Rangers could -- if they can win some games here -- finish as high as sixth. They could, if they don't, finish as low as 14th.

The real battle in the East Friday night has the Canadiens visiting the Flyers in a game that could change a great many things in the conference. A win for the Flyers, and their playoff probability jumps to over 96 percent; a loss, and it hovers just over 80 percent. It'll still take a Rangers or Thrashers (as if) run to put them out of the playoffs, but would a loss Friday after the Islanders game be a de facto knockout punch?

Here's the West.

Team (Games)

Place/Record/Pts.

Tragic #

% Chance of Playoffs

% Chance of 7th

% Chance of 8th

Detroit Red Wings (77)

6th/41-23-13/95                                     

-

99.9 (SCS) 99.9 (HR)

22

5

Los Angeles Kings (77)

7th/44-27-6/94

-

99.9 (SCS) 100 (HR)

23

6

Colorado Avalanche (76)

8th/41-28-7/89

-

89.1 (SCS) 90.2 (HR)

12

72

Calgary Flames (77)

9th/39-29-9/87

9

9.6 (SCS) 10.3 (HR)

0

10

St. Louis Blues (77)

10th/37-31-9/83 

5

0.2 (SCS) 0.2 (HR)

0

1

Anaheim Ducks (76)

11th/37-31-8/82             

6

0.5 (SCS)   0.1 (HR)

-

0

Dallas Stars (77)

12th/34-29-14/82

3

0.0 (SCS)   -- (HR)

-

0

Minnesota Wild (77)

13th/37-34-6/80                         

2

0.0 (SCS)   -- (HR)

-

0

We'll have much more on this game later Friday, but know this: A Calgary win over Colorado increase the Flames playoff chances to 23.2 percent probability; a loss drops them to a miniscule 1.4 percent.

One last note: The Red Wings are now a 33 percent favorite to finish fifth, with the Kings (33 percent) and Predators (31 percent) battling for the sixth seed. The Preds are a 42 percent favorite to place seventh in the conference, which would likely mean Chicago but could mean San Jose in Round 1.

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