March 7, 2008

Playoff Race

Eastern Playoff Race

Since my previous article about the Eastern playoff race two teams predicted to have an easy time getting in have tanked. Ottawa has gone 3-8 (2-3 in OT) and Philadelphia has gone 5-9 (1-3 OT), however Canadiens and the Devils have now statistically secured their spot (>95% chance they'll make the playoffs if every game were a coin toss) and the Penguins are one win away from the same thing. Ottawa still stands an excellent chance of making the playoffs, but Philadelphia has joined the bubble teams.

Rangers and Bruins are pretty close to being locked in as my numbers show >90% chance of making the playoffs.

The Bubble teams
Bruins - As long as Thomas doesn't start they might be ok. They're having major issues, but they don't need to be amazing to make the playoffs, just get by so I don't see them falling out at this point.
Flyers - 7 losses in a row will take you from a playoff spot to almost out. After such a great start they now have a 25% chance of missing the playoffs. Still 75% chance of making it isn't that bad.
Hurricanes - Just have to win the division
Sabres - Odds don't look so good for them. They'll have to have a great March to even have a chance. (30% chance to make playoffs)
Washington - Must catch Hurricanes. They had a good chance of making the playoffs until Carolina acquired Corvo (9 points in 11 games), then it was over...

The rest are out!
There are two Boston - Buffalo games at the end of season, for Buffalo it could come down to having to win both of those games.
There are also two Carolina - Washington games left to be played at the end of the season.

Western Conference
There are four teams that are currently guaranteed to make the playoffs: Sharks, Stars, Wings, Ducks. [Note: Ducks are 16-8 (3-2 OT) since Janaury 1st]

Bubble teams [Northwest plus Chicago and Nashville minus Oilers]
Flames, Minnesota, Avalanche, Canucks - It's anyone's guess as to which of these four teams will make the playoffs, however keep in mind there are about 7 game in the last three weeks for each of these teams against each other. The most likely situation is that 3 out of these 4 are in.
Nashville - Need to pick it up if they want to catch the Northwest.
Chicago - I'm amazed they're still in the race. Still have a long way to go, but 3 wins in a row against strong teams is a great start.

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