NHL Playoff Death Watch: Minnesota’s wild slide, Phoenix’s rise in West

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 27: Mikkel Boedker #89 of the Phoenix Coyotes celebrates his shootout game winning goal against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on March 27, 2014 in Newark, New Jersey. The Coyotes defeated the Devils 3-2 in the shootout. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Since we're down to the final moments of postseason life for teams in contention, Puck Daddy solemnly begins a daily countdown to annihilation.

Uh oh Minnesota Wild …

The Wild saw their playoff probability drop to 77.4 percent with a humbling loss to the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.

Not only that, but the Phoenix Coyotes (49 percent) have a better chance of snagging the first wild card than do the Wild (38 percent). This is rather important when attempting to avoid the Blues in the first round, a team to which Minnesota has dropped nine straight games.

So much ails the Wild now. From Michael Russo of the Star Tribune:

The Wild’s power play was 0 for 6. It gave up a shortie and another two power-play goals. If you’re counting at home, that’s 11 power-play goals on 31 chances in the past 12 games. “Our special teams have been terrible,” [Ryan] Suter said. “We have to figure that out, or we’re not even going to make the playoffs.”

The Phoenix Coyotes, meanwhile, have done what they do: defy expectations. They went up 2-0 on New Jersey last night and then escaped with a shootout win with Thomas Greiss between the pipes.

The Yotes are now 7-2-1 in their last 10. They’re closing, and the Wild are fading.

However … the teams have a showdown in Glendale on Saturday. That’ll be fun.

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.

Here’s the Eastern Conference picture:

Team

Place/ Pts./ROW (Games Remaining)

Tragic #

% Chance 1st Wild Card

% Chance of 2nd Wild Card B

Columbus Blue Jackets

WILD CARD 1/80/32 (5H/5A)

-

30

19

Detroit Red Wings

WILD CARD 2/80/28 (4H/5A)

-

22

24

Washington Capitals

9th/80/25 (4H/5A)

18

11

18

Toronto Maple Leafs

10th/80/27 (4H/4A)

16

12

17

New Jersey Devils

11th/76/31 (5H/4A)

14

5

11

Carolina Hurricanes

12th/73/31 (4H/5A)

11

0

1

Ottawa Senators

13th/72/25 (7H/3A)

12

0

1

New York Islanders

14th/66/22(4H/5A)

4

-

0

The Red Wings gave up five goals on home ice to the Canadiens, going down 2-0 in the first period. They lost their game in-hand with the Capitals but still have one with Toronto, whom they play on Saturday night.

The Leafs skate at the Flyers tonight. Amazing to think a sweep this weekend could put Toronto back into a wild card slot despite all the dire tire fire talk.

Columbus, meanwhile, will host Pittsburgh at a sold out Nationwide Arena. Alas, they don’t often play their best in front of huge crowds when it isn’t the Red Wings on the other end of the rink.

The Rangers (86 points) are in Calgary for the first game of a four-game west coast swing. They’re up three points on the Flyers, who have two games in hand.

Meanwhile in the Western Conference:

Team

Place/Record/Pts. (Games Remaining)

Tragic #

% Chance Wild Card A

% Chance of Wild Card B

Minnesota Wild

WILD CARD 1/85/30 (4H/4A)

-

38

40

Phoenix Coyotes

WILD CARD 2/84/30 (5H/3A)

-

49

32

Dallas Stars

9th/79/31 (4H/6A)

15

13

25

Vancouver Canucks

10th/79/29 (6H/1A)

9

0

3

Nashville Predators

11th/75/30 (3H/5A)

7

0

0

Winnipeg Jets

12th/75/26 (3H/5A)

7

0

0

Calgary Flames

13th/67/24 (3H/6A)

1

-

0

Vancouver really, really needed that extra point they dropped to Colorado in overtime last night. They have a 3.8 percent chance of making the playoffs.

As mentioned, the Wild and Coyotes play each other on Saturday. Wither Dallas? The Stars go back-to-back with Nashville at home and at St. Louis, holding two (1) games in hand on the teams they’re chasing but now five in back of Phoenix and six in back of Minny.