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A Look at the Math, 3/6/10 March 6, 2010

Posted by CapitalSpirit in Uncategorized.
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A busy day at the rinks today, as twenty of thirty teams are in action today. So that means I’ve got enough to write without wasting time on preliminary jibber-jabber. One note before I get started: as of today, each game will only list C’s and E’s of the two teams in that game. Blame the Oilers, Kings, and Coyotes for this one. Edmonton’s eliminations are a little too complicated to scatter between two different game listings, so I’m going to give the Oilers their own space on an “inactive teams” section at the end. And I think that makes more sense to do going forward, as well. So from now on, each game listing will only list the clinches and eliminations of the teams in that game. Some games will naturally have implications for other teams, so make sure to digest these write-ups as a whole, and not just focus on one game here or there. Now then, let’s get to it.

DALLAS STARS AT PITTSBURGH PENGUINS. Game 1 of 1. The Stars need to win this game. Badly. They’re on a three-game Eastern Conference swing that also includes stops in Washington on Monday and Buffalo on Wednesday. So they’ve got three games in five days against the cream of the Eastern Conference crop. They’re four points out of playoff position, and if they lose all three of these, they could have only 100 points available for the season. That’s not enough wiggle room down the stretch. So this could be a season-deciding, make-or-break road swing for the Stars.
SMALLEST MAGIC NUMBER: PIT is +8 against TOR for 14 East.

BOSTON BRUINS AT NEW YORK ISLANDERS. Game 4 of 4. NYI lead by 2. Unless the Islanders are deliberately playing for draft position, this is one they’re going to have to win. They’re only half a dozen points out of playoff position, but they’ve played more games than anyone in front of them. So right now, they only have 96 points available for the season. That’s approximately zero wiggle room. So if the Islanders want to chase Stanley, they need to start winning a lot, starting this afternoon. If this game gets away from them, they need to forget this Stanley guy and start to focus more on chasing Joola.
SERIES: BOS must win in regulation, or NYI win series.
PLAYOFF ELIMINATION ISLANDERS: Would be eliminated from President’s Trophy and 1 East with a regulation loss; a Washington win; or an overtime loss AND a Washington overtime loss.

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS AT OTTAWA SENATORS. Game 5 of 6. Series is even. It’s the Battle of Ontario on a Saturday night, so the hockey needs no hype. Unfortunately, this game doesn’t have anything really exciting to talk about if you have a passion for playoff math. The Senators still have some hockey to play before anything’s settled, and Toronto has a ways to go before they run into the elimination from the 2 East spot. If this game is won in regulation, the winner will have command of the series, but that’s about all I can say from the math end of it.
SMALLEST MAGIC NUMBER: TOR is -8 against PIT for 2 East.

NEW YORK RANGERS AT WASHINGTON CAPITALS. Game 4 of 4. WSH leads by 2. It’s a battle of the red, white, and blue in the nation’s capital, as the Caps look to extend one of the most incredible home-ice advantages in hockey. (One which I’m honored to be part of, I should add.) The Caps take the Rangers lightly at their own risk: the Blueshirts are just outside the playoff picture, and they have a couple of scores to settle against the Caps following last year’s Eastern Quarterfinals. If they do end up as the 8, it could very well mean a first-round rematch, and the Rangers want the Caps to know that they can win on Verizon Center ice. This will be a fun game to be a part of, but the math gets even better. Read on, Caps fans, you’ll love this!
SERIES: NYR must win in regulation, or WSH wins.
PLAYOFF CLINCH CAPITALS: Can clinch 13 East with a win; an Islanders regulation loss; or an overtime loss AND an Islanders overtime loss. Can clinch 12 East, and 4 Southeast, with a win AND a regulation finish in the CAR-FLA game.

CAROLINA HURRICANES AT FLORIDA PANTHERS. Game 6 of 6. CAR leads by 2. A few parting shots between a couple of Southeast rivals who almost certainly won’t see each other until next year. For you tough-guy fans, anyone think Tom Kostopoulos or Tim Gleason are going to get booked on the Panthers’ Bryan and Bryan show? Hey, it’s their last meeting, so let’s just get it all over with, n’est ce pas? But on to the math, because this gets interesting.
SERIES: FLA must win in regulation, or CAR wins.
PLAYOFF ELIMINATION EITHER TEAM: Would be eliminated from President’s Trophy, 1 East, and 1 Southeast with a regulation loss AND a Washington win.

ATLANTA THRASHERS AT TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING. Game 6 of 6. Off game; TBL have clinched series. One more Southeast series wraps up tonight, as both of Florida’s NHL clubs host their final meetings with divisional rivals. Capitals angle: the Caps have yet to finish any season series–they have a combined eight more games against the Southeast in their final 18 games. Whether those will be easy pickings, or wars on skates, we’ll have to see. For now, the Thrash and Bolts are wrapping their already-decided series up, and there aren’t any C’s or E’s to talk about.
SMALLEST MAGIC NUMBER: TBL are -7 against WSH for President’s Trophy, 1 East, and 1 Southeast.

ANAHEIM DUCKS AT PHOENIX COYOTES. Game 6 of 6. Series is even. Another division series goes final tonight, this one in the Pacific. The winner of this game will win the series. Anaheim is having a season to forget: it’s hard to believe that this is the same organization that hoisted the Cup not three years ago. As for Phoenix, well, the city befits the team, as the Coyotes look to be well on their way to the postseason for the first time since the lockout. That would be very good for the team, obviously, and perhaps some postseason success might attract a buyer who wants to keep the team in Phoenix.
SERIES: Winner take all.
PLAYOFF CLINCH COYOTES: Can clinch 14 West with a win.

ST LOUIS BLUES AT COLORADO AVALANCHE. Game 3 of 4. COL leads by 4. Nothing that thrilling about the math here. No C’s or E’s are on the line with this game. The series is in play, though.
SERIES: STL must win, or COL wins series.
SMALLEST MAGIC NUMBER: COL is +4 against EDM for 14 West and 4 Northwest.

MONTREAL CANADIENS AT LOS ANGELES KINGS. Game 1 of 1. The Habs need this one to stay competitive in the East; the Kings need this one to stay competitive in the West. Could be a very hard-fought game for two teams that don’t see each other that much.
PLAYOFF CLINCH KINGS: Can clinch 14 West with a win.

COLUMBUS BLUEJACKETS AT SAN JOSE SHARKS. Game 4 of 4. SJS lead by 1. A surprisingly competitive series takes a curtain call tonight, as the Jackets jump into the Shark Tank. The Sharks’ next clinch is against these very Jackets, but it’s 6 points away, and they best they can do with this one is win it in sixty and take four of those. Meanwhile, Columbus could be eliminated from President’s Trophy consideration tonight.
SERIES: SJS win with any win; CBJ win with a regulation win; series tied if CBJ win in overtime.
PLAYOFF ELIMINATION BLUEJACKETS: Would be eliminated from President’s Trophy consideration with: an overtime loss AND a Washington win; a regulation loss with EITHER a Washington win OR overtime.

INACTIVE TEAMS
EDMONTON OILERS: Would be eliminated from 3 West with a Los Angeles win, OR a Phoenix win, OR a Phoenix overtime loss. Would be eliminated from 4 West with BOTH a Los Angeles win AND EITHER a Phoenix win or overtime.

CAPITAL SPIRIT
GAME NIGHT! WOO-HOO!

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