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 Dallas Stars’ 2-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets, combined with the Phoenix Coyotes’ overtime loss in New York, pushed them to within a point of the last wild card spot in the West.
Oh, and they have a game in-hand. Oh, and Mike Smith got totally hurt last night.
We look at another big night on the bubble in both conferences in today’s Death Watch
Here are the current standings. The Death Watch tracks the final Wild Card spot and the teams that are chasing it. Their “tragic number” is the number of points gained by the final wild card team or lost by the team chasing it.
All playoff percentages are from Sports Club Stats; tragic numbers and other figures via the NHL. A team is eliminated from play-offs when their "Tragic Number" hits 0.
Here’s the Eastern Conference picture:
Place/ Pts./ROW (Games Remaining)
% Chance 1st Wild Card
% Chance of 2nd Wild Card B
Detroit Red Wings
WILD CARD 1/80/28 (5H/6A)
Toronto Maple Leafs
WILD CARD 2/80/27 (5H/4A)
Columbus Blue Jackets
New Jersey Devils
New York Islanders
The four teams surrounding the bubble are all in action tonight.
The Red Wings and Blue Jackets face off in a critical game for both in Columbus. The Leafs host the St. Louis Blues, the best team in the West. The Capitals host the Los Angeles Kings, who are coming off a win in Philly last night.
Here’s how incredibly tight the Eastern Conference wild card is: Depending on the outcomes, the Leafs could find themselves in the first wild card or in 10th place by night’s end.
Higher in the standings, the Rangers regained a one point lead over the Flyers, but Philly has two games in-hand. Montreal’s shootout win over Boston tied them in points with Tampa Bay, who lost a shootout to Ottawa.
Meanwhile in the Western Conference:
Place/Record/Pts. (Games Remaining)
% Chance Wild Card A
% Chance of Wild Card B
WILD CARD 1/85/30 (5H/5A)
WILD CARD 2/80/29 (5H/5A)
The Jets played hard in Dallas, but their loss drops their tragic number to 11.
The Coyotes are in Pittsburgh tonight to face a Penguins team that’s 26-6-2 on home ice. The Stars are in Chicago tonight to face a Blackhawks team that’s 23-7-7 on home ice.
Keep in mind that these two knuckleheads close the season out in Phoenix, so we might be doing this dance until the end.