NHL Playoff Death Watch: RIP, Buffalo Sabres

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

In yet another example that proves the existence of the Hockey Gods, the Buffalo Sabres were eliminated from playoff contention on Sunday – in a game that featured a tribute to that symbol of their pending rebuild, Thomas Vanek, as he played for the team that eliminated the Sabres.

The Sabres are the first team to be eliminated in the 2013-14 season, as the Montreal Canadiens moved into second in the Atlantic Division.

So with one team down, it’s time for Puck Daddy to begin its daily countdown to elimination for the remaining playoff contenders.

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.

Here’s the Eastern Conference picture:

Team

Place/ Pts./ROW (Games Remaining)

Tragic #

% Chance 1st Wild Card

% Chance of 2nd Wild Card B

New York Rangers

WILD CARD/76/32 (5H/8A)

-

20

28

Washington Capitals

9th/74/24 (5H/8A)

24

2

6

Detroit Red Wings

10th/73/25 (8H/7A)

27

11

18

New Jersey Devils

11th/71/29 (10H/4A)

23

4

12

Ottawa Senators

12th/69/28 (9H/6A)

23

1

4

Carolina Hurricanes

13th/67/28 (5H/9A)

19

0

1

New York Islanders

14th/61/20 (6H/7A)

11

0

0

Florida Panthers

15th/58/18 (8H/6A)

10

0

0

Tampa Bay leads the Rangers by three points in their Wild Card race, but could leap over the Toronto Maple Leafs into third in the division with a win or an overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Monday night.

Meanwhile in the Western Conference:

Team

Place/Record/Pts. (Games Remaining)

Tragic #

% Chance Wild Card A

% Chance of Wild Card B

Dallas Stars

WILD CARD/75/29 (6H/9A)

-

21

43

Phoenix Coyotes

9th/75/27 (7H/7A)

28

10

27

Vancouver Canucks

10th/72/26 (8H/4A)

21

0

3

Winnipeg Jets

11th/71/25 (5H/8A)

22

0

2

Nashville Predators

12th/68/28 (5H/9A)

21

0

1

Calgary Flames

13th/61/22 (7H/7A)

14

0

0

Edmonton Oilers

14th/57/21 (10H/3A)

8

-

0

The Minnesota Wild have a five-point lead on the Dallas Stars for the final Wild Card and can grow that lead with a win at the Boston Bruins on Monday night. The Wild and Stars have 15 games remaining.

The Coyotes, meanwhile, have a key game against the Los Angeles Kings on Monday, with a chance to jump ahead of the Stars into the final wild card slot with a win or an overtime loss.

Winnipeg is at St. Louis, while the Canucks are in Tampa.

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