NHL Playoff Death Watch: Central studs vs. wild carders in West

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.

Claude Giroux’s overtime goal against the Winnipeg Jets not only kept the Philadelphia Flyers ahead of the Detroit Red Wings in the wild card, but it also kept them one ROW behind the Red Wings in the tie-breaker with a game in-hand. Overtime wins are much more valuable than shootout wins down the stretch, and the Flyers avoided the skills competition with seconds to spare.

The Flyers have a game in-hand against Detroit, and will have two when the Wings travel to Montreal tonight.

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.

The Eastern Conference picture, via the NHL:

NHL
NHL

The Buffalo Sabres and Montreal Canadiens have been officially eliminated after the Flyers’ win last night.

The Florida Panthers host the Toronto Maple Leafs and can’t afford to leave points on the table here. The Boston Bruins are in New Jersey for a critical game – one point up on the Detroit Red Wings, and heading on the road to the Blues and Blackhawks after this one. Yikes.

Here are the latest Eastern Conference playoff odds from Sports Club Stats:

NHL
NHL

*Wild Card Teams

Congrats to the Washington Capitals for winning the President’s Trophy last night and, in the process, probably securing the Jack Adams for Barry Trotz.

Meanwhile, in the West:

NHL
NHL

The San Jose Sharks’ win over the Los Angeles Kings secured them a playoff spot.

They’re all must-wins for the Colorado Avalanche, but spanking the Nashville Predators with three goals to chase Pekka Rinne gives them good momentum heading into St. Louis tonight. The Minnesota Wild, meanwhile, host the Blackhawks in a game that could mean plenty for both wild card spots.

The Predators try to right the ship at the Dallas Stars, getting over the loss to the Avs and the fact that a senior from Harvard would not accept their rose.

Here are the latest Western Conference playoff odds from Sports Club Stats:

NHL
NHL

*Wild Card Teams

What a wild night: The top three teams in the Central against the two wild cards and the team chasing them. We’re going to learn a lot about the playoff race in the West tonight. Well, until we relearn it again on Thursday.

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Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

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