NHL Playoff Death Watch: East’s ‘in-hand’ night; Stars, Jets face abyss


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 Central Division has a little playoff mystery now, as we wonder who will play the Minnesota Wild in the first round and who will be in the wild card to face either the Chicago Blackhawks or the Pacific winner, given that the Pacific currently has more intense drama than Michelle Williams’s IMDB page.

On Monday, you have the Nashville Predators, currently third in the Central, playing at the New York Islanders. You have the St. Louis Blues, in the second wild card, hosting the Arizona Coyotes, who are one Colorado Avalanche away from being the worst team in the NHL.

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.

Here’s the Western Conference:

If the Blues and Preds both gain a point, then the Dallas Stars and Winnipeg Jets are formally eliminated.

The Calgary Flames host the Avalanche, trying to make that cluster in the Pacific even more interesting. Consider they have two games left with both the Ducks and the Sharks!

According to Sports Club Stats, the Blues have a 58-percent chance of taking third in the Central to Nashville’s 41 percent.

Here’s the Eastern Conference:

It’s Games-In-Hand Night!

The Islanders are trying to knot up the Bruins in points with a win against the Nashville Predators, while the Tampa Bay Lightning are hosting the Chicago Blackhawks with a chance to cut the Bruins’ lead to one point. In the process, they’d move two points in back of the Toronto Maple Leafs, which is why the Bruins and Bolts are in a better position than the Islanders: They have to doors through which to walk into the playoffs.

It’s a big one for the Islanders, as they’ll have just two home games left in their seven remaining games. The Isles on the road: 15-16-5. Not good, Bob.

Continuing Games In Hand Night, Carolina starts a weird two-night homestand against the Detroit Red Wings, including their makeup game for that ice malfunction earlier this season.

They have two games in-hand on the Bruins, and begin a four-game homestand here.

The Lightning have an 11-percent chance at the last wild card, while the Hurricanes have a 9-percent chance. Boston (30 percent) has a better shot at third in the division than the last wild card (28 percent). The Islanders have a 30-percent chance of making the playoffs.

Here’s MoneyPuck.com’s view of things:

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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