Thursday Tank Watch: Your open thread for tonight's NHL Draft Lottery hopefuls
Previews, game times, and ideal results for the lottery games on Thursday, February 18.
A game-winning goal surrendered in the final minutes of last night's game versus the Colorado Avalanche was a devastating blow to what little playoff hopes the Montreal Canadiens had left. It was, however, a perfect result for the tank.
The loss held the Habs steady in the 22nd-overall position, with 58 points. That position can slip as far as 24th by the end of tonight's action.
The Calgary Flames didn't help Montreal's draft position, suffering their third consecutive loss on Wednesday night. They did play a part in helping detour the Minnesota Wild away from an already busy race to the bottom, as the Wild remain undefeated since replacing Mike Yeo with John Torchetti.
This series will focus on any team currently sitting more than one spot outside of a playoff position. Here are today's games featuring the teams meeting that criterion:
7:30 PM EST / 4:30 PM PST
Toronto Maple Leafs
Visitors: New York Rangers
Position: 16th in Eastern Conference; 30th overall
Ideal result: A win for TOR
How to watch: TSN4 (Leafs region)
The Leafs are currently all alone in 30th place, and intent on staying there. They have played fewer games than every other team in the lottery running, however, so that position is not secured just yet.
Carolina Hurricanes @ Ottawa Senators
Records: CAR: 26-21-10 / OTT: 26-26-6
Positions: CAR: 10th in East; 17th overall / OTT: 13th in East; 23rd overall
Ideal result: Overtime win for OTT
How to watch: RDS, TSN5 (Senators region)
The only all-lottery matchup of the night features a Carolina Hurricanes team that keeps creeping ever closer to the playoffs, They've been doing that recently by playing more often than the teams they're chasing, so they still have a lot of work cut out for them if they want to be one of the eight representatives of the Eastern Conference come mid-April.
The Ottawa Senators finally registered a win — a shootout decision — in their last game versus the Buffalo Sabres to halt a three-game skid. A point of any kind will move the Sens above the Canadiens in the standings.
Host: Tampa Bay Lightning
Position: 12th in Western Conference; 25th overall
Ideal result: Overtime win for WPG
How to watch: TSN3 (Jets region)
Winnipeg will fall into the bottom five of the league standings with a regulation loss. Despite a great home record, Tampa Bay is sitting outside of the final post-season spot, and may be in the lottery conversation in the very near future.
9:00 PM EST / 6:00 PM PST
Visitors: Minnesota Wild
Position: 14th in West; 29th overall
Ideal result: Overtime win for EDM
How to watch: Sportsnet West (Oilers region)
The Oilers are matching the Leafs' record over the clubs' last 10 games played, and sit just one point away from 30th overall despite having played three more contests. If they become the next victim of the Wild's resurgence, the Oilers could be dead last in league at the conclusion of Thursday's games.
Visitors: Dallas Stars
Position: 10th in West; 21st overall
Ideal result: Shootout win for ARI (see below)
How to watch: GameCentre Live/NHL.tv
You may not believe it after watching them beat Montreal 6-2 on Monday night, but Arizona is in contention for the first-overall pick.
If the Coyotes win in a shootout, it creates an interesting scenario with the Wild for positioning. The two clubs will be tied in games played (57), points (60), and regulation and overtime victories (25). That will mean moving on to points earned in games played versus each other this season as the next tie-breaking procedure. Their results so far:
- MIN 4 @ 3 ARI (Regulation win on Oct. 15)
- MIN 1 @ 2 ARI (Overtime win on Dec. 11)
- ARI 2 @ 1 MIN (Shootout win on Jan. 25)/
That gives each team four points from their head-to-head matchups, making that next tie-breaker a dead heat.
The next stage is to discount the first home game of the team that has acted as host in their matchups most often, meaning that first regulation loss doesn't factor into the conversation, so Arizona would ultimately rank ahead of Minnesota when all was said and done.
10:00 PM EST / 7:00 PM PST
Visitors: Anaheim Ducks
Position: 11th in West; 24th overall
Ideal result: Overtime win for VAN
How to watch: Sportsnet Pacific (Canucks region)
The Canucks have been waiving former Canadiens left and right in recent weeks, but the exorcism hasn't helped to reverse their fortunes. On a two-game losing streak, and winning just two of their previous eight games, the Canucks are closely mirroring what the Habs have been doing of late.
A two-point effort from Vancouver will tie them with Montreal in that department, but the western team will be classified first in the standings by virtue of fewer games played.