Puck Daddy - NHL

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

Sometimes, it just works out for the NHL. Tonight features a game between the No. 7-seeded Rangers and the No. 8-seeded Sabres, who are separated by two points.

Meanwhile, the No. 6-seeded Montreal Canadiens, whom the Rangers trail by two points with a game in-hand, are in Raleigh to face the No. 9-seeded Carolina Hurricanes, who now trail the Sabres by just three points for the final seed.

Our advice for fans in those markets: Thumb exercises, so you don't end up with a sprain while flipping tonight.

(We can't, in good faith, recommend picture-in-picture. It's like watching hockey on a calculator watch.)

In the Western Conference, last night's loss by the Chicago Blackhawks dropped their playoff probability down to 84.9 percent, while the Dallas Stars remained alive at a 37.7 percent probability and with a game in-hand.

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; the Tragic Number is from NHL Standings and Magic Numbers. The former is an industry standard; the latter is a site we discovered this week, and are hopeful that the figures are as accurate as those from NHL Playoff Race. Also: For the Percentage Chance of Making the Playoffs, we've included the figures from Hockey-Reference.com (HR), which is crunching its own numbers. It's listed with the percentage from Sports Club Stats (SCS).

Head here for an explanation of the Tragic Numbers.

Here's the playoff picture for the Eastern Conference:

Team (Games) Place/Record/Pts. Tragic # % Chance of Playoffs % Chance of 7th % Chance of 8th
Montreal Canadiens (77) 6th/41-29-7/89 -- 99.2 (SCS)

98.5 (HR)

32 7
New York Rangers (76) 7th/41-30-5/87 -- 97.8 (SCS)

98.5 (HR)

42 20
Buffalo Sabres (76) 8th/38-29-9/85 -- 80.9 (SCS)

82.6 (HR)

21 53
Carolina Hurricanes (76) 9th/36-30-10/82 10 21.4 (SCS)

19.6 (HR)

3 18
Toronto Maple Leafs (77) 10th/35-32-10/80 6 0.8 (SCS)

0.8 (HR)

0 1
Atlanta Thrashers (76) 11th/32- 32-12/76 3 0.0 (SCS)

0.0 (HR)

0 0
New Jersey Devils (75) 12th/34-36-5/73 3 0.0 (SCS)

0.0 (HR)

-- 0

Congratulations to the Leafs, whose win over the Sabres last night increased their chances for the No. 8 seed from a relative zero to 1 percent.

Here's the Western Conference:

Team (Games) Place/Record/Pts. Tragic # % Chance of Playoffs % Chance of 7th % Chance of 8th
Phoenix Coyotes (78) 4th/42-25-11/95 -- 98.4 (SCS)

98.8 (HR)

15 8
Los Angeles Kings (76) 5th/44-26-6/94 -- 97.2 (SCS)

99.0 (HR)

9 5
Nashville Predators (77) 6th/41-26-10/92 -- 91.9 (SCS)

92.4 (HR)

22 17
Anaheim Ducks (76) 7th/43-28-5/91 -- 82.6 (SCS)

85.5 (HR)

21 21
Chicago Blackhawks (76) 8th/41-27-8/90 -- 84.9 (SCS)

81.3 (HR)

21 24
Calgary Flames (77) 9th/38-28-11/87 7 6.5 (SCS)

9.8 (HR)

1 5
Dallas Stars (75) 10th/38-26-11/87 11 37.7 (SCS)

33.2 (HR)

10 19
Minnesota Wild (76) 11th/36-32-8/80 3 0.0 (SCS)

0.0 (HR)

0 0
Columbus Blue Jackets (76) 12th/34-31-11/79 1 0.0 (SCS)

0.0 (HR)

-- 0

The St. Louis Post Dispatch wrote after last night's shootout loss to the Wild that "the point kept the Blues from being mathematically eliminated."

To quote Marge Gunderson: "I'm not sure I agree with you a hundred percent on your police work, there, Lou."

With 76 games played and 78 points, the best the Blues can do is 90 points and 40 wins. A tie in points with Chicago would still leave the Blues out of the postseason, given that the Blackhawks already have 41 wins. So they're toast.

(Ed. Note: As has been pointed out in the comments, completely spaced on the new regulation/OT wins vs. shootout wins protocol. So the Blues technically are not toast yet. Just really, really warm bread.)

They're all big games now, but the Anaheim Ducks at the Calgary Flames is just huge. A Flames win actually edges their playoff chances to 11.1 percent, which is a faint heartbeat but still a heartbeat. A Flames loss in regulation drops it down to 0.7 percent, a.k.a. tee time.

If the playoffs started today, they'd look like this. And they'd feature the Vancouver Canucks and the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round. Hi, Roberto.

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