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.

The Montreal Canadiens aren't seriously going to blow this playoff thing, are they?

Last night's loss to Eric Staal(notes) the Carolina Hurricanes left Montreal needing a single point to clinch a postseason berth. It also left the door ajar for a scenario that would see the Habs finish outside the money. From Pension Plan Puppets, a suddenly gleeful Toronto Maple Leafs blog:

Here's what else needs to happen to give us one hell of a chip to play in future trash-talking:

• The New York Rangers need to win both games against the Philadelphia Flyers.

• The Philadelphia Flyers need to take one of those losses to overtime or the shootout.

• The Boston Bruins need to pick up just one point in their last two games.

• The Toronto Maple Leafs need to beat the Montreal Canadiens in regulation in Montreal.

Now, that last one tells you just how hard it is going to be for everything to play out exactly as we hope so light candles, go to church, sacrifice a virgin, or whatever you need to do to curry favour with the hockey gods.

We'd say the odds on Montreal failing to make the postseason are long, and Sports Club Stats confirms that: The Canadiens still have a 97.9 percent probability for a playoff spot. Never has 2.1 percent made more people this nervous ...

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.

Also, check out Yahoo! Sports' "If The Playoffs Started Today" page.

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).

(Some of you have asked, so check here for the Magic/Tragic number explanation.)

Here's the playoff picture for the Eastern Conference, and here are clinching scenarios from the NHL:

Team (Games)


Tragic #

% Chance of Playoffs

% Chance of 7th

% Chance of 8th

Boston Bruins (80)



96.5 (SCS) 96.8 (HR)



Montreal Canadiens (81)



97.9 (SCS) 98.6 (HR)



Philadelphia Flyers (80)



81.1 (SCS) 81.3 (HR)



New York Rangers (80)



24.6 (SCS) 23.3 (HR)



An example of the heart the Bruins showed in last night's comeback win over the Buffalo Sabres, that they haven't shown recently, from NESN:

Dennis Wideman(notes) could have packed it in for the night and simply given up after a turnover in his own zone turned into a Derek Roy(notes) goal. But Wideman fought through those negative perceptions of himself and his approach to hockey. He got right back into the flow of the game and was rewarded when his long point shot whistled through traffic proved to be the game-winning goal.

The Bruins are now the favorite for the No. 6 seed, with games at home against the Hurricanes and at the Washington Capitals remaining.

Check out the playoff scenarios for the Rangers and Flyers here.

Last night's New Jersey Devils loss and Pittsburgh Penguins victory still didn't make the Pens the favorite for the No. 2 seed. The Devils close with the New York Islanders and the Buffalo Sabres; the Pens have the Islanders and the Atlanta Thrashers. But the Devils still have the tie-breaker with that season series sweep.

In the West:

Team (Games)


% Chance of 5th

% Chance of 6th

% Chance of 7th

% Chance of 8th

Los Angeles Kings (80)






Detroit Red Wings (80)






Nashville Predators (81)






Colorado Avalanche (80)






The overtime point for the Kings last night in a loss to the Phoenix Coyotes puts them in the No. 5 seed for now, and they still have the inside track.

The final schedules:

Nashville: vs. St. Louis.

Los Angeles: vs. Edmonton, at Colorado

Detroit: at Columbus, at Chicago

Colorado: vs. Chicago, vs. Los Angeles

Sports Club Stats still has the No. 1 seed in play, as the San Jose Sharks are at 49-percrent and the Chicago Blackhawks are at 51 percent. Increasingly, it looks like both will avoid the Red Wings in Round 1. The Vancouver Canucks may not be so fortunate.

Where do you see the Red Wings finishing?

The notion that seven of the eight playoff teams could be 100-point teams in the West is just incredible. The No. 6 seed last year had 92 points!

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