Playoff Race Showdown

Current Standings - March 27
6-New York Rangers 87 (77-39-29-9)
7-Tampa Bay 86 (77-41-32-4)
8-Montreal Canadiens 86 (77-40-31-6)
9-Carolina Hurricanes 85 (77-38-31-8)
10-Toronto Maple Leafs 85 (77-37-29-11)
11 - New York Islanders 84 (75-36-28-12)

Please note that the current tiebreaker is games played. At seasons end, the 1st tie breaker is games won.

Update 11 - March 29
Atlanta 3 Toronto 2 (OT)

Update 10 - March 28
Philadelphia 5 Carolina 1

Update 9 - March 27
Montreal 6 Rangers 4
Maple Leafs 6 Carolina 1
New Jersey 3 Islanders 2
Florida 5 Tampa Bay 2

Update 8 - March 25
Rangers 2 Islanders 1 (OT)

Update 7 - March 24
Montreal 5 Washington 1
Toronto 4 Buffalo 1
Rangers 2 Boston 1
Islanders 4 Philadelphia 3
Ottawa 7 Tampa 2
Carolina 6 San Jose 4

Update 6 - March 23
Buffalo 5 Toronto 4

Update 4- March 22
Montreal 6 Boston 3
Carolina 4 Washington 3
Islanders 3 Pittsburgh 1
Tampa Bay 3 New Jersey 1

Update 3 - March 21
Rangers 5 Philadelphia 0

Update 2 - March 20
Canadiens 1 Boston 0
Toronto 2 New Jersey 1
Tampa Bay 4 Islanders 3 OT
Boston Bruins stats removed from listings

Update 1 - March 19
Rangers 2 Pittsburgh 1

With between 5 and 6 games remaining in the season, depending on the team, there are 6 clubs still vying for the final two playoff positions in the Eastern Conference.

The analysis below charts each teams chances of making the post season.

The categories being examined includes a teams home and road games, as well as games against the other 5 opponants in the race. Games against teams higher or lower in the standings are also recognized by a plus or minus sign.

Each teams upcoming games are listed below their current records and the above mentioned criteria. As the games are played, I will update the standings of each team and place them accordingly. I will also update the opponant as being a plus or minus opponant.

Over the course of the season's final 22 days, the games listed below will be qualified as WINS. LOSSES, or OT LOSSES and the points totals changed accordingly.

In the final days of the season, when teams are eliminated from this group of 6, the entirety of their statistical chances will no longer appear in this charting.

These stats were initialized on March 17, after all games were played. It is being updated on a game by game basis.

My thoughts on each teams chances, are as follows, in random order.

Toronto Maple Leafs (84): The Leafs are very capable of getting hot late in the season as they did last year. Losing to Washingston last night complicated their run, while salvaging a point tonight in the shootout loss against the Canadiens might be the point that either gets them in, or keeps them out. With 9 of their remaining 10 games against teams higher in the standings, the Leafs will need to steal more than a few to play beyond 82 games this season. It could come down to the last game of the season against Montreal. Not the best of scenario's for Leafs fans. UPDATE 2: The win over New Jersey on March 20, keeps the Leafs in the thick of things, 1 point out of a playoff spot. UPDATE 5: Leafs blow a 4-1 lead to Buffalo planting themselves far back in the thicket at 11th spot. A crucial and pssibly detrimental loss that they cannot get back. UPDATE 7: Leafs beat Buffalo 4-1, gaining ground only on 6th place Tampa. UPDATE 9: Leafs pound Carolina 6-1 and gain on everyone except Montreal. UPDATE 11: Leafs lose in OT to Atlanta, they are alone in 9th, one point back of Montreal and Tampa, with no games left in hand.

New York Islanders (84): They looked alot safer one week ago, before Rick DiPietro decided to ram Steve Begin's knee with his head. The Isles are just not the same without him, having now dropped three in a row. If the goalie does not return soon, it could be very costly to their chances. While the Isles have the advantage of having the most games left to play, 8 of those 11 are pitting them up against teams that are now above them. The recent string of losses dropped them from 7th to 10th. The home and away games against the Rangers might be what makes it or breaks it for them. They may be fortunate to be playing only 3 teams that are still in the fight. UPDATE 2: The Islanders lost a costly point in the OT loss to Tampa Bay March 20. They sit 2 points back of a spot in the post season. UPDATE 4: Islanders beat Penguins 3-1, but gain no ground in pusuit of 8th place. UPDATE 7: With 4-3 win over Philly, Isles are 3 points back of Tampa in 6th with a game in hand, and one point from a tie in 8th. UPDATE 8: Isles sacrifice a game in hand on everyone by salvaging one point in overtime loss to Rangers. UPDATE 9: Ilses loss 3-2 to Devils, combined with loss of goalie DiPietro makes things look rather bleak. One more loss would write them off.

Montreal Canadiens (86): Perhaps more than any other team in the pack, the Canadiens destiny is in their own hands. Six of their remaining 9 games are against teams still battling for a spot, half of those against the Bruins, who are fading fast. The Canadiens play only 4 more road games, which also helps their chances. The team is playing well and if they can avoid needing David Aebischer in goal until Huet returns in a week, they may just vault into 7th or 8th. The key will be the games against the Rangers. They have only 4 of the 9 games left against teams ahead of them at this point. If they continue to battle hard as they have, they could squeak in on the final weekend. Benefitting the Habs, is their win total, which in the event of a tie, would become a deciding factor. Of the six teams fighting, they are currently tied with the Hurricanes at 36 wins. UPDATE 2: With the 1-0 win over the Bruins on March 20, the Canadiens are keeping pace, having won 4 of their last 5. By remaining a point behind the Rangers, with two games left against them, all hope is still permitted. UPDATE 4: The 6-3 win over Boston put the Habs in a tie with Carolina for 8th, with the 'Canes owning a game in hand, The canadiens maintain the extra win in the W column, but have gained little other ground due to continuous wins by Tampa, NYI, NYR, and Carolina. UPDATE 7: Fourth straight win keeps pace, only 2 points behind Tampa in 6th. UPDATE 9: Huge 6-4 win over Rangers places Habs alone in 8th, destiny firmly in hand.

New York Rangers (87): The Rangers have gotten it together of late, going from 11th place to 8th with just a pair of wins.It's a good sign for them as their remaining schedule is a tough one. Six of their final 10 games are on the road, and of those 10, six games are against teams battling it out for the last two spots. They have two games remaining against the Canadiens, Isles, Penguins, and Flyers, with singles against Toronto and Boston. They will need more than 5 wins to do it. UPDATE 1: The Rangers string of wins has now brought them up to 7th place and has also placed all of their upcoming opponants, excepting Pittsburgh on the last night, below them in the standings. UPDATE 3: Rangers beat Philly to keep their hold on 7th place. UPDATE 7: OT win over Boston keeps Rangers in 7th. UPDATE 8: Win over Islanders helps solidify grip on 6th place. UPDATE 9: 6-4 loss to Habs, combined with Tampa loss keeps rangers in 6th.

Carolina Hurricanes (84): With 9 games remaining and five at home, the Canes would seem to be the best bet to make it through. Only one of those 9 games is against teams on the bubble, while 5 home games remain. They may seem fortunate to have a pair against Florida and one against Washington, but they have also lost plenty of games to less worthy opponants all season. Five wins for the Canes will keep it tight, a sixth win will almost guarantee them a spot in the post season. UPDATE 4: Hurricanes win over Washington keeps them hanging on to 8th spot, tied with the Habs, and having a game in hand. UPDATE 7: Win over Sharks keeps "Canes ties with Habs in 8th with a game in hand. UPDATE 9: 6-1 pounding to Leafs makes thing complicated for 'Canes, now sitting 9th, 2 points back of Montreal and tied with Toronto. UPDATE 10: An extremely detrimental loss, 5-1 to Philly, strands the 'Canes in 9th, as they lose their game in hand to Montreal. I weep - NOT!

Legend:
CR: Current Record
GR: Games remaining
HG: Home games
RG: Road games
GR6: Games against the 6 teams still in contention for the final two playoff spots
+ : Games against teams higher in the standings
- : Games against teams lower in the standings
Teams are ranked in current position. Teams playing an opponant tied in standings in defined with a +.
Road games are in capital letters, present points are in parentheses

6 - New York Rangers ( 87)
CR - 39-29-9
GR-5
HG-3
RG-2
GR6-3
+1
-4
pit+ W
phi- W
BOS-W
NYI-W
MON-L

PHI-
tor-
NYI-
mon-
PIT+

7 - Tampa Bay Lightening ( 86 )
CR - 41-32-4
GR-5
HG-3
RG-2
GR6-2
+1
-4
nj+ W
ott+L
flo-L

CAR-
was-
car-
flo-
ATL+

8 - Montreal Canadiens (86)
CR-40-31-6
GR-5
HG-2
RG-3
GR6-2
+3
-2
bos-W
BOS- W
was-W
nyr+W

OTT+
buf+
bos-
NYR+
TOR-

9 - Toronto Maple Leafs ( 85)
CR - 37-29-11
GR-5
HG-3
RG-2
GR6-3
+3
-2
MON-OTL
nj+W BUF+L
buf+W
car+W
ATL+OTL

pit+
NYR+
phi-
NYI-
+

10 - Carolina Hurricanes ( 84 )
CR - 38-31-8
GR-5
HG-3
RG-2
GR6-2
+3
-2
was-W
sj+ W
TOR-L
PHI-L

tb+
FLO-
TB+
atl+
flo-

11 - York Islanders ( 84 )
CR -36-28-12
GR-6
HG-2
RG-4
GR6-3
+4
-2
TB+ OTL
pit+ W
PHI-W
nyr+OTL
nj+L

BUF+
OTT+
nyr+
tor-
PHI-
NJ+

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