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A Look At the Math, 3/1/11 March 1, 2011

Posted by CapitalSpirit in Uncategorized.

10 games on the NHL slate tonight, and there are a couple of them which have mathematical implications. Here are the possibilities:

OTTAWA SENATORS. Would be eliminated from President’s Trophy consideration with a regulation loss AND a Vancouver win.

DETROIT RED WINGS. Can clinch 14th in the West with an Edmonton regulation loss.

That’s it as far as tonight goes. Now, curious readers may be wondering, where are the Capitals in all of this?

Take a look at the Magic Numbers chart. Right now, the current 9 team on there is Carolina, with a Max Possible of 105. And the Capitals have 76 points right now. So, right now, the Caps’ magic number for the playoffs is 29.

On the other hand–and this is strictly a for-the-record calculation here–the Caps would be out of the playoff picture if their Max Possible number fell below 65, which gives them a comfortable 49 as their elimination number. Since they have 19 games remaining, they can only lose 38 points on their own. In other words, to miss the playoffs, the Caps would have to lose every game the rest of the way, and also lose 11 points from other teams’ results. If the Caps merely went .500 the rest of the way–i.e., 19 points–then they’d need to lose 30 points based on other teams’ performance. That would require a whole lot of winning from teams that, candidly, haven’t been doing enough of it this year.

The bottom line is that the Caps are 20 points closer to being in, than they are to being out, and they have 19 games remaining. That’s not insurmountable, but it’s definitely comfortable. So one or two losses down the stretch–even perhaps the odd stinker a la the Rangers game last Friday–shouldn’t be cause for overmuch weeping and gnashing of teeth. Now, if you want to say that it doesn’t bode well for how the Caps will play in the playoffs, go ahead. But let’s put to bed all this talk of the Caps not making it in.

Because don’t forget, that 29 to clinch is going to be counting down on BOTH Caps wins, and losses by the Max Possible 9 spot team. So the Caps don’t necessarily need 14 wins and an overtime: they’ll probably be in with less than that.

Long story short: while the math isn’t definitive, and anything can happen, the Capitals will make the playoffs. Go buy your playoff tickets, Caps Nation, and expect to be using them next month.

The first 2 points should come tonight against the Islanders. Bring your brooms.




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