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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

The Carolina Hurricanes need help, and by that we mean they need the Buffalo Sabres to fold like origami if they have a chance at qualifying for the playoffs.

The Sabres, of course, have other designs, going 6-3-1 in their last 10 while the Canes have gone 4-5-1.

Buffalo is in Toronto to take on the Leafs tonight. From the Buffalo News:

The Sabres can just about put Carolina away if they keep winning this week before they even get to Raleigh for Sunday night's final meeting of the season. Teams are chasing them but they're looking up to try to push as high as sixth in the conference. They have however, dropped their last two meetings to the Leafs.

"We still have some work to do and it's a team chasing us," [Ryan] Miller said of the Leafs. "It's still playoff time. There's a lot of points to be had and that includes by us."

Meanwhile, the Hurricanes are at the Washington Capitals, and know that time is running short. From the News & Observer:

Whether they face Ovechkin or not, the Hurricanes have just one objective tonight: win a game, by any means, and pick up two points. With a five-point margin separating the Canes (35-30-10) and playoff position in the NHL's Eastern Conference, there is no room for any slippage in the final seven games of the regular season.

"There's still enough on the clock here," Canes coach Paul Maurice said Monday. "All the games that will be played going forward for most of these teams, there's something on the line. So there won't be anything easy. Some other teams are struggling right now, so we may catch them as well. It's not clear, cut and dried who's out yet and who's in."

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 (76) 6th/40-29-7/87 -- 98.5 (SCS)

98.0 (HR)

34 19
New York Rangers (76) 7th/41-30-5/87 -- 98.3 (SCS)

98.2 (HR)

33 25
Buffalo Sabres (75) 8th/38-28-9/85 -- 91.6 (SCS)

92.5 (HR)

26 45
Carolina Hurricanes (75) 9th/35-30-10/80 10 11.3 (SCS)

10.9 (HR)

2 9
Toronto Maple Leafs (76) 10th/34-32-10/78 6 0.4 (SCS)

0.3 (HR)

0 0
Atlanta Thrashers (75) 11th/31- 31-12/76 6 0.0 (SCS)

0.2 (HR)

0 0
New Jersey Devils (75) 12th/34-36-5/73 3 0.0 (SCS)

0.0 (HR)

-- 0

The Lightning can clinch a playoff spot with a victory over Ottawa and a regulation loss for the Hurricanes. But that clearly is secondary to the fact that it's Steve Downie(notes) bobblehead night at the rink.

Also, just in case you were wondering if the Leafs still had a shot at the playoffs, the Toronto Star has gone back to baiting fans instead of slobbering over their run.

Here's the Western Conference:

Team (Games) Place/Record/Pts. Tragic # % Chance of Playoffs % Chance of 7th % Chance of 8th
Phoenix Coyotes (77) 4th/41-25-11/93 -- 93.5 (SCS)

93.7 (HR)

20 15
Los Angeles Kings (75) 5th/43-26-6/92 -- 95.2 (SCS)

98.0 (HR)

13 10
Nashville Predators (76) 6th/41-25-10/92 -- 95.3 (SCS)

96.8 (HR)

17 12
Anaheim Ducks (76) 7th/43-28-5/91 -- 81.9 (SCS)

78.8 (HR)

20 24
Chicago Blackhawks (75) 8th/41-26-8/90 -- 91.1 (SCS)

84.0 (HR)

19 17
Calgary Flames (77) 9th/38-28-11/87 7 5.7 (SCS)

9.7 (HR)

1 5
Dallas Stars (74) 10th/38-26-10/86 12 37.3 (SCS)

39.1(HR)

10 18
Minnesota Wild (75) 11th/35-32-8/78 3 0.0 (SCS)

0.0 (HR)

-- 0
St. Louis Blues (75) 12th/34-32-9/77 2 0.0 (SCS)

0.0 (HR)

-- 0
Columbus Blue Jackets (75) 13th/33-31-11/77 1 0.0 (SCS)

0.0 (HR)

-- 0

We could be looking at a triple elimination tonight.

If the Blackhawks beat the Bruins in Boston, the Blues and Blue Jackets are eliminated, unable to amass more points than either the Blackhawks or Ducks in the games remaining. If the Blues take out the Wild at home, coupled with a Blackhawks win, then the Wild are done.

Two points of interest tonight: If the Dallas Stars lose at the Coyotes, their playoff probability tumbles to 23.6 percent; a win, and it's up to 52.7 percent.

The Kings begin Game 1 A.D. (Anze Down) with a game at the Oilers. Win or lose, their percentages don't change dramatically. But for the sake of momentum and getting their heads straight after losing arguably their MVP, what a crucial game.

The Predators can increase their chances to 98.6 percent with a win over the Canucks in a game that promises to have all the excitement of an insomniac in a Thanksgiving food coma.

If the playoffs started today, they'd look like this.

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