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 New York Rangers' loss to the New York Islanders last night accomplished two things in the Eastern Conference playoff race. First, it increased the Carolina Hurricanes' postseason chances by 5.1 percent to 30.3, according to Sports Club Stats; in fact, Carolina now has a 19 percent chance of taking the No. 8 seed while the Rangers have a 46-percent shot at eighth.

Second, the emphatic 6-2 Isles' win sparked speculation that the Rangers' 2-game losing streak is a full-on tailspin, due to the nature of their loss on Long Island. From NBC New York and Josh Alper:

The only reason the Rangers haven't already gone over the cliff is because they've worked so exceptionally hard all season. Along with Henrik Lundqvist(notes), that's why people continued to believe in the Rangers. Even as the team's scoring went totally down the drain -- five goals over the last five games -- the feeling was that they would never get outhustled on the ice.

That wasn't the case on Thursday and it came in hand with a rare bad outing from the King. Lundqvist is allowed a bad night, painful as it is, but the rest of the team can't take nights off from the grind and hope to extend their season.

The Sabres and Carolina both play Saturday and then play each other Sunday; the Rangers' next game is Sunday afternoon against the Flyers, who are 4-1 against the Blueshirts this year.

Whew … good thing no one called the Rangers a stealth Cup pick this postseason. Oh, crap …

Meanwhile, pour a little out for the Columbus Blue Jackets, who were officially eliminated from postseason contention last night. Thus begins a summer of soul-searching for the Blue Jackets, from the scouting staff to the front office. Hey, go figure: The phallic mascot actually wasn't their greatest concern.

Coming up, the playoff pictures for the East and West, as we shift the focus to playoff seeding. 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).

Head here for an explanation of the Tragic Numbers.

Here's the playoff picture for the Eastern Conference:

Team (Games) Place/Record/Pts. Tragic # % Chance of Playoffs % Chance of 7th % Chance of 8th
Montreal Canadiens (78) 6th/41-30-7/89 -- 98.0 (SCS)

96.5 (HR)

24 10
Buffalo Sabres (77) 7th/39-29-9/87 -- 87.2 (SCS)

86.5 (HR)

39 24
New York Rangers (78) 8th/41-32-5/87 -- 83.5 (SCS)

89.0 (HR)

28 46
Carolina Hurricanes (77) 9th/37-30-10/84 8 30.3 (SCS)

27.1 (HR)

9 19
Toronto Maple Leafs (78) 10th/36-32-10/82 4 0.9 (SCS)

0.9 (HR)

0 1
Atlanta Thrashers (77) 11th/33- 32-12/78 1 0.0 (SCS)

0.0 (HR)

0 0
New Jersey Devils (76) 12th/35-36-5/75 1 0.0 (SCS)

0.0 (HR)

0 0

The Devils can be eliminated tonight with a loss, either in regulation or in overtime. The Flyers ending the Devils season with Jacques Lemaire behind the bench … what's old is new again.

Here's the Western Conference:

Team (Games) Place/Record/Pts. Tragic # % Chance of Playoffs % Chance of 7th % Chance of 8th
Phoenix Coyotes (78) 4th/42-25-11/95 -- 99.2 (SCS)

99.3 (HR)

17 10
Los Angeles Kings (77) 5th/44-27-6/94 -- 97.4 (SCS)

98.6 (HR)

10 6
Nashville Predators (78) 6th/42-26-10/94 -- 97.8 (SCS)

98.8 (HR)

22 21
Anaheim Ducks (77) 7th/44-28-5/93 -- 95.1 (SCS)

94.6 (HR)

20 16
Chicago Blackhawks (76) 8th/41-27-8/90 -- 90.2 (SCS)

88.2 (HR)

21 27
Dallas Stars (76) 9th/38-27-11/87 10 19.7 (SCS)

19.1 (HR)

9 18
Calgary Flames (78) 10th/38-29-11/87 5 0.8 (SCS)

1.4 (HR)

0 1
Minnesota Wild (77) 11th/37-32-8/82 3 0.0 (SCS)

0.0 (HR)

0 0
St. Louis Blues (77) 12th/35-32-10/80 -- 0.0 (SCS)

0.0 (HR)

-- 0

Nashville's win over Colorado last night propelled the Preds back into the No. 6 seed, and they currently have an equal shot (23 percent) of placing fifth or sixth.

The Kings' loss to the Canucks sill left them with a 32-percent chance at taking the No. 4 seed and having home ice in the first round.

The Blues can finally, finally be eliminated tonight with a loss or a Chicago victory.

If the playoffs started today, they'd look like this. Which is what they looked like yesterday, only the Red Wings are now a No. 3 seed playing the No. 6 seed Predators.

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