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St. John’s IceCaps in control of their own playoff destiny

Two shutout wins this past weekend greatly improved the IceCaps’ odds of making the post-season.

(St. John's IceCaps/Colin Peddle) Daniel Carr Garret Sparks Toronto Marlies St. John's IceCaps/Colin Peddle

The St. John’s IceCaps won two big games this past weekend thanks to back-to-back shutouts by Zachary Fucale and Charlie Lindgren. Collecting four out of six points, combined with key losses by the Utica Comets and Albany Devils, the IceCaps took control of their own destiny with very few games remaining.

With the Toronto Marlies and Syracuse Crunch waiting for their first round opponent, here’s how the teams in competition for the third and fourth seed in the North Division currently stand:

Although the IceCaps have more points than the Devils, Albany has a game in hand, putting the IceCaps below the Devils at this point based on the points-percentage (PCT) ranking. However, once all is said and done, the statistic will be irrelevant since all three teams will end up playing 76 games.

Here are their remaining schedules:

The IceCaps have four remaining points to play for, while the Devils and the Comets each have six.

Albany has the easiest remaining schedule, facing two weak teams in Hartford and Rochester. Utica also plays Hartford, but they also have two games against Syracuse, which will be a mighty challenge.

PLAYOFF QUALIFYING SCENARIO 1: IceCaps win both remaining games

On the surface, the IceCaps have the hardest schedule due to facing the North Division’s leading team, the Toronto Marlies, twice in two nights. Should the IceCaps manage to win both games, it would give them 84 points: one more than the Comets can achieve if they win all their remaining games.

SCENARIO 2: One Utica loss combined with the IceCaps getting two more points, whether via win or two OT losses

Wednesday will be a big day for IceCaps fans. A regulation loss by Utica would mean that the Comets waste their game in hand, and the three-point difference would give the IceCaps two chances to earn two points.

SCENARIO 3: Utica earns no more than two points

Should the IceCaps lose both games against the Marlies, they would be relying on the Comets to win no more than one game out of three, and no additional single points along the way.

There are other, more complex, mathematical scenarios that can be discussed, but the above three are the most likely. In essence, St. John’s’ playoff fortunes are tied closely with Utica’s failure more than Albany’s because of a greater point gap with Utica and the fact that the tiebreakers favour Albany against St. John’s, but favour St. John’s against Utica.

The order of tiebreaks is as follows:

1) Regulation and Overtime Wins (ROW) - ongoing

  • Devils, 34
  • IceCaps, 32
  • Comets, 32

2) Head-to-head points - final

  • IceCaps 12, Comets 4
  • Devils 12, IceCaps 6

3) Goal differential - ongoing

  • IceCaps, -5
  • Devils, -7
  • Comets, -18

4) Goals scored in season series - final

  • Devils 30, IceCaps 22
  • IceCaps 23, Utica 18

From the above, you can see that the St. John’s IceCaps are in a good position to qualify for the playoffs, as they don’t necessarily have to rely on others and do control their own fate.

It would be the first time in six seasons that the Montreal Canadiens’ AHL farm team would qualify for the playoffs.

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