Puck Daddy - NHL

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 Toronto Maple Leafs are standing at the edge of the abyss, throwing rocks down into the blackness to hear if they hit rock bottom. There is no margin for error. They need more help than they can realistically expect to receive this last in the season.

Toronto hosts the Capitals tonight, the Devils on Wednesday and then close out their season against Montreal on Saturday.

The Leafs can't catch the Rangers after their incredibly clutch win against Boston last night. They can, however, still catch the Sabres.

From the Toronto Sun, here's how:

Buffalo - With 84 points, the Leafs trail the Sabres by six, but if Toronto goes 3-0 (in regulation) and the Sabres 0-3 the Leafs would win the tiebreaker based on season's series (seven points to six.)

That's right: a charity point earned in a 3-2 shootout loss to Buffalo in November could break the tie between the teams.

In the West, the Blackhawks and Stars are both in action tonight, with Chicago holding a three-point lead for the No. 8 seed. A Dallas loss to the Blue Jackets, independent of what the Blackhawks do, will drop their playoff probability down to 7.4 percent. Their tragic number entering the night is six.

Coming up, the playoff pictures for the East and West, as we shift the focus to playoff seeding. The full NHL standings and schedules can be found on Y! Sports.

All playoff percentages are from Sports Club Stats; the Tragic Number is from NHL Standings and Magic Numbers. The former is an industry standard; the latter is a site we discovered this week, and are hopeful that the figures are as accurate as those from NHL Playoff Race. Also: For the Percentage Chance of Making the Playoffs, we've included the figures from Hockey-Reference.com (HR), which is crunching its own numbers. It's listed with the percentage from Sports Club Stats (SCS).

Head here for an explanation of the Tragic Numbers.

Here's the playoff picture for the Eastern Conference:

Team (Games) Place/Record/Pts. Tragic # % Chance of Playoffs % Chance of 7th % Chance of 8th
Montreal Canadiens

(79)

6th/42-30-7/91 -- 98.9 (SCS)

98.6 (HR)

23 14
New York Rangers

(80)

7th/43-32-5/91 -- 94.8 (SCS)

98.0 (HR)

41 37
Buffalo Sabres

(79)

8th/40-29-10/90 -- 94.0 (SCS)

92.6 (HR)

34 39
Carolina Hurricanes

(79)

9th/38-30-11/87 4 12.2 (SCS)

10.6 (HR)

2 10
Toronto Maple Leafs

(79)

10th/37-32-10/84 -- 0.1 (SCS)

0.2 (HR)

- 0

This is Montreal's game in-hand on the Rangers, who suddenly are threatening to snag the No. 6 seed … which would mean a match with the same Bruins team they steamrolled in the third period last night.

The X-Factor at the bubble remains the Hurricanes, who are three out with three remaining. The loss to the Sabres on Sunday nearly crippled their chances; will Buffalo leave the door open a crack tonight?

Here's the Western Conference:

Team (Games) Place/Record/Pts. Tragic # % Chance of Playoffs % Chance of 7th % Chance of 8th
Phoenix Coyotes

(79)

4th/42-25-12/96 -- 99.5 (SCS)

99.0 (HR)

15 6
Los Angeles Kings

(79)

5th/45-28-6/96 -- 99.4 (SCS)

99.9 (HR)

10 6
Nashville Predators

(79)

6th/42-26-11/95 -- 98.6 (SCS)

98.6 (HR)

15 6
Anaheim Ducks

(79)

7th/44-30-5/93 -- 86.6 (SCS)

89.6 (HR)

28 35
Chicago Blackhawks

(78)

8th/42-28-8/92 -- 86.6 (SCS)

85.8 (HR)

27 26
Calgary Flames

(80)

9th/40-29-11/91 3 4.6 (SCS)

7.4 (HR)

0 4
Dallas Stars

(78)

10th/39-28-11/89 6 24.6 (SCS)

19.7 (HR)

6 17

All of Calgary chanting "Go Habs Go" tonight.

If the playoffs started today, they'd look like this. The Sharks and Ducks in the first round will not be a pleasant series for either of them.

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