NHL Death Watch: Stars, Jackets have Golden State opportunity; Devils face elimination

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 Wings had a game in-hand on the Dallas Stars, and managed to gain a point in a shootout loss to the Vancouver Canucks. Trouble is, that opened the door for the Dallas Stars to control their own destiny.

OK, math majors:

• The Columbus Blue Jackets, current No. 8 seed, have 49 points and 16 ROW with three games left. Which means at best they can get to 55 points and 19 ROW.

• The Detroit Red Wings, current No. 9 seed, have 48 points and 18 ROW with four games left. Which means at best they can get to 56 points and 22 ROW. Which means they can finish ahead of the Blue Jackets if both win out. However …

• The Dallas Stars, current No. 10 seed, have 47 points and 20 ROW with four games left. Which means at best they can get to 55 wins and 24 ROW, with one important caveat: They play the Red Wings in the final game of the season. So if the Stars win out, the best Detroit can do is 54 points with a regulation loss to Dallas and 55 points with an OT loss. If the Stars win out, they’ll hold the tie-breaker in ROW against both the Blue Jackets and Red Wings if they’re tied in points.

Now, will everyone win out? Of course not. And the Minnesota Wild and Phoenix Coyotes may yet factor into the fate of the No. 8 seed. This is merely saying that the Stars have a path to the playoffs, and it begins in Los Angeles on Sunday.

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; tragic numbers and other figures via the NHL. A team is eliminated from play-offs when their "Tragic Number" hits 0.

Team (Games Remaining) Place/Pts/ROW Tragic # % Chance of Playoffs % Chance of 7th % Chance of 8th
New York Islanders (3) 6th/53/20 - 97.5 32 24
Ottawa Senators (4) 7th/52/19 - 96.2 30 27
New York Rangers (4) 8th/50/19 - 91.9 31 36
Winnipeg Jets (3) 9th/49/21 5 19.3 2 10
New Jersey Devils (4) 11th/44/15 2 0.1 - 0

The Rangers can eliminate the Devils with a victory on Sunday, which obviously would be nice considering the Devils did some eliminating of the Rangers last season.

The Washington Capitals’ rout of the Montreal Canadiens did two things last night: It sets up Tuesday’s game at home against the Jets as a clincher for the No. 3 seed, as the Capitals could do just that with a regulation win (or an OT loss, depending on what the Jets do at Buffalo on Monday night).

The other thing it did: It left the Habs with 59 points and three games left, while Boston has 57 points and five games left. So, again, it’s looking good for Habs and Leafs in Round 1. Which will be fun.

Team (Games Remaining) Place/Pts/ROW Tragic # % Chance of Playoffs % Chance of 7th % Chance of 8th
St. Louis Blues (4) 6th/54/21 - 100% 8 0
Minnesota Wild (4) 7th/51/20 - 96.6 62 10
Columbus Blue Jackets (3) 8th/49/16 - 23.8 3 21
Detroit Red Wings (4) 9th/48/20 7 48.3 8 40
Dallas Stars (4) 10th/47/20 6 24.4 4 20
Phoenix Coyotes (4) 11th/46/15 5 6.9 0 6
Edmonton Oilers (5) 12th/41/15 2 0.0 0 0

The Blue Jackets are at the San Jose Sharks, while Dallas visits to the Los Angeles Kings. The Sharks and Kings are tied with 55 points and four games remaining, as they jockey for home ice and attempt to stay out of the No. 6 seed.

The Blues, chasing them, host Colorado on Sunday. The Wild, trying to stay off the Western bubble, host Calgary.

If the Jackets earn a point against the Sharks, it’ll officially send the Oilers to the draft lottery, a.k.a. their natural habitat.