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A Brief Look At the Math, 2/21/11 February 21, 2011

Posted by CapitalSpirit in Uncategorized.
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I’ve just updated the results for today’s matinee games. Only one game left on the docket today, Caps-Pens in prime time, and I know of a couple of viewing parties tonight that I’ll consider attending. The official one is at Union Jack’s in Bethesda, and I know that CSN Washington’s announcers will be at The Palm. The Palm being completely out of my price range, I’ll either be in Bethesda or on my couch. Need to finish this one quickly either way, so this will be a little more freestyle than I normally do.

We’re getting into the stretch run at this point, and there are a couple of single-digit magic numbers to discuss. Ottawa and Edmonton are less than ten points from mathematical elimination for the President’s Trophy, and Ottawa is a mere ten points from being knocked out of the 1 East spot. That’s pretty much it for the exciting numbers. The Islanders are a dozen points from President’s Trophy consideration (yawn), which is the next smallest number on the board.

Now, if you’re like me, and playoff chases are a big part of why you like the NHL, you may be wondering how soon we could be seeing some honest-to-goodness clinches and eliminations.

Here are the pertinent “Next 5” schedules:

VANCOUVER
2/22 vs MTL
2/24 vs STL
2/26 vs BOS
3/1 vs CBJ
3/3 vs NSH

EDMONTON
2/22 at MIN
2/23 at COL
2/25 vs STL
2/27 vs BOS
3/1 vs NSH

OTTAWA
2/23 vs FLA
2/25 at BUF
2/26 vs PHI
3/1 vs BOS
3/3 at ATL

PHILADELPHIA
2/22 vs PHX
2/24 vs NYI
2/26 at OTT
3/3 vs TOR
3/5 vs BUF

As you can see, Boston is going to figure heavily in this discussion, and the Flyers and Sens have a head-to-head 4-pointer coming up. Nashville is also going to be part of the discussion between the Canucks and Oilers.

So, given those schedules, what’s the earliest that Vancouver and Philadelphia can clinch their conferences’ respective 14 spots?

For Vancouver, the earliest is actually this Thursday. For that to happen, the Canucks would need one of these scenarios:

  • Wins against Montreal and St. Louis, and two Edmonton losses, one of which must be in regulation; or
  • A win, an overtime loss, and two Edmonton regulation losses.

Either of those, and I would get to put something exciting in the C&E columns for the West.

The earliest the Senators could be eliminated from President’s Trophy consideration is Friday. That’s only possible if Vancouver wins against Montreal and St. Louis, and Ottawa loses in regulation to both Florida and Buffalo.

The earliest the Flyers can clinch the 14 East spot is Saturday. There are a lot of ways for that to happen, and if I spelled them all out, you’d have a headache, and I’d have carpal tunnel syndrome. Basically, there are a total of 12 points available this week between the Flyers and Sens, and 4 of them will be decided head-to-head. If the Flyers win in regulation on Saturday, they would need a total of six points somewhere else–their wins, or Ottawa’s losses–to clinch the 14. If the Flyers win in OT against Ottawa, they would need 7 points elsewhere in the week. If the Flyers lose to the Senators in OT, they would need two wins and two Ottawa regulation losses to clinch. And if the Senators win in regulation on Saturday, the Flyers can’t clinch that day. The Flyers cannot clinch the 14 before Saturday regardless, as both teams have just two games–and 8 points–before facing off in Saturday’s 4-pointer, and the magic number between the two teams is 10.

Anyway, this post is getting long, and if I’m going to the viewing party in Bethesda, I need to get going. Later.

CAPITAL SPIRIT
THE PLAYOFF RACE IS ON!

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