Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Morning playoff check-up

Well, you can’t say this isn’t interesting. The Canadiens appear to relish in this end of season squeeze into the playoffs, or out of the playoffs, despite the fact the owner, general manager, coaching staff and players are all different.

Montreal remains in the driver’s seat for a playoff spot, and the chances of elimination are infinitely small. As near as I can tell, the only way Montreal doesn’t make it is if the Rangers beat Toronto and sweep their home and home with the Flyers. Meanwhile, the Bruins would also need to collect at least three points in their three remaining games. The Flyers would also need to lose one of those two games against New York in overtime. And finally, the Canadiens would need to lose both their remaining games in regulation time.

Not likely, but possible.

In terms of tiebreak scenarios, the first one is wins, which the Flyers currently hold an edge in. If the Rangers or Bruins win out, they'll be tied with the Habs at 39 wins. The next is head-to-head records. Montreal took the season series with the Rangers and Bruins quite handily, losing only twice in 10 games between them. They tied at two games apiece with the Flyers but would lose the tiebreak based on goals for and against. So, one point against either Carolina Thursday or Toronto Saturday means the Habs are in, but they could still finish as low as eighth and earn a date with the Capitals. But, if they win their final two games, they finish sixth and draw the Sabres. Or Devils. Or Penguins.

If they lose in Carolina, it may very well come down to needing a single point against the Leafs in the final game of the season. Where have we seen this before?

Montreal Canadiens – Sixth place, 39-32-9, 87 points
Last night – 4-3 shootout loss to New York Islanders
Next game: @ Carolina Thursday
2 games remaining, 0 against teams in playoff spot
Home (1) – Tor April 10
Road (1) – Car April 8

Philadelphia Flyers – Seventh place, 40-34-6, 86 points
Last night: 2-0 win over Toronto
Next game: @ New York Rangers Friday
2 games remaining, 0 against teams in playoff spot
Home (1) – NYR April 11
Road (1) – NYR April 9

Boston Bruins – Eighth place, 36-30-13, 85 points
Last night: Did not play
Next game: v. Buffalo Thursday
3 games remaining, 2 against teams in playoff spot
Home (2) – Buf April 8, Car April 10 
Road (1) – Was April 11

New York Rangers – Ninth place, 36-33-10, 82 points
Last night: 5-2 loss to Buffalo
Next game: v Toronto tonight
3 games remaining, 2 against teams in playoff spot
Home (2) – Tor April 7, Pha April 9
Road (1) – Pha April 11


MathMan said...

For my money the Islanders was their last best chance for a win. I don't have much confidence in their remaining games, despite both teams being eliminated. Carolina is their nemesis and playing well; and if it comes down to needing a point against the Leafs in the last game of the season, I have the sinking feeling we'll spend Sunday praying the Rangers lose.

Let's hope the Rangers lose tonight and settle it. Otherwise even that ridiculous scenario where the Habs fall out will loom increasingly likelier in fans' minds. A bit of serenity to end the season wouldn't hurt.

jkr said...

I just don't understand these flat starts.Three periods of consistent effort would probably been enough for a W yet they manage 5 shots in the first??? At times they just look so disinterested.

hockeyzombie said...

Yeah MathMan I hear what you are saying. Lets hope the Rangers lose tonight. But then the Habs clinch playoff on a OT loss (vs Isles). Didn't that happen last year vs the Broons? Not the most convincing way to make the playoffs. They need some momentum going in.

I just relized I have to cheer for the Laffs tonight... yucky!

esp said...

not sure how this will affect the standings but i believe the tiebreaker after wins is not head-to-head but wins not-in-shootout. it was a rule modification mid-season. its either before or after head-to-head. either way, all it would change is our seed, lets make sure we get in first!

esp said...

oo my bad, thats a proposal that hasnt been approved yet. would only apply next season. go habs!

MathMan said...

@hockeyzombie: They'll still have the opportunity to win either or both of their remaining games if they want respectability (not to mention the 6th seed), but it'd be nice to bleed the drama out of things and go on to jockeying for position.

@esp: Montreal has a crushing head-to-head advantadge on both the Bruins and the Rangers, so that's not an issue. As for the Flyers, Philly has more wins and if the Habs were to tie them in wins, they'd clinch anyway. It may become an issue for seeding.

Anonymous said...

Habs better hope Rangers WIN tonight or those 2 final games of NY/PHA will mean nothing to the Flyers. Habs need to remain ONE point ahead of Flyers to beat them out of a spot OR end up TIED at the worst with Boston to stay OUT of the #8 spot that means facing Washington in the first round. As of now, though Pittsburgh could still sneak in over Devils but Devils do have the tiebreaker on them, the 6th and 7th place teams will most probably face Buffalo or New Jersey and Habs can beat either of these teams IF THEY PLAY not at the level they showed up at last night.

A rangers win tonight means they must beat Philly twice to make the playoffs - Habs want the Rangers to try their guts out in those 2 Flyers games. If Habs can't get one point out of the final 2 games against 2 bottom teams they don't deserve to be in the oplayoffs. I think they do deserve to and tomorrow will beat Carolina. So......

Go Rangers tonight!

Marathon246 said...

So, the Leafs didn't do the Habs a favour tonight, but Arpon Basu has the math right: Rangers have to win both games against Philly, which needs at least one OT loss point and, even if that happens, the Bruins still need 3 points. Too bad they came up two minutes short of making it moot on Tuesday, but they're a pretty safe bet.

Interesting discussion, see this SI list of strong teams that never won the Cup. Many good choices but... the Leafs? Never. I'm old enough to vaguely remember their '67 win and they've never scared anyone since. See: