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A Look At the Math: 3/31/11 March 31, 2011

Posted by CapitalSpirit in Uncategorized.
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Caps fans, I want you to send some good vibes to the Hurricanes this morning. Not for beating the Caps, but for beating the Canadiens. Carolina’s win over Montreal assures the Capitals of at least a 5th place finish in the Eastern Conference. As of right now, the Capitals’ magic number against Tampa Bay for the Southeast Championship is down to 7, and it could go all the way down to 2 tonight.

Now, wait a second, you’re probably saying…how is there such a thing as a five point night? Here’s how that works.

Right now, the Capitals have 99 current points; Tampa Bay has a Max Possible number of 105. That’s a six-point difference, but what happens if there’s a tie between the Caps’ current points and the Bolts’ Max Possible?

Well, the next tie break in that situation is Regulation and Overtime Wins (ROW), so you make the same comparison there. The Caps currently have 40 ROW; Tampa Bay could finish with 41 ROW if they win out on ROW. So the Caps’ magic number, right now, isn’t six, but seven; they do not own the ROW tie break yet, and so, right now, they would need the extra point to break the tie.

However, a Capitals ROW tonight, or a Tampa Bay loss or shootout win would put the ROW comparison all square. If that happens, the next tie break is the head-to-head match-up, which the Caps have clinched. So for ROW purposes, a Caps-Bolts tie would go to the Capitals. At that point, the Caps would no longer need the extra point to break the ROW tie: if the points comparison is a draw, and the ROW comparison is a draw, the Capitals take the standing. So there’s no need to get an extra point to be certain of the standing. Right now, a points tie leads to an ROW tie break that is inconclusive, so the Caps need one more point to earn the clinch. BUT if the ROW comparison is all square–Caps current ROW equal to Tampa Bay’s Max Possible ROW–then a points tie would be broken by the head-to-head result, which breaks in favor of the Caps.

Now, in the ideal scenario tonight, the Capitals get a regulation win, and Tampa gets a regulation loss against the Penguins.

As an aside, yes, Caps fans, that does mean we have to root for Pittsburgh tonight. I know there are some of you who could never, ever root for the Pens, but hold your nose and root for them tonight: a Penguins victory against Tampa Bay would help the Capitals a LOT.

Okay, ideal scenario. A Caps regulation or overtime win, coupled with a Tampa Bay regulation loss, would bring the Caps’ magic number to clinch the division from 7 down to 2: 2 points for their own win, 2 points for Tampa Bay’s loss, and no further need for the extra point to break the tie.

That is how tonight could end up being a five point night for the Caps: the results of the games themselves, and resolution of a tie break that would eliminate the need for an extra point.

One other thing: if Columbus loses tonight, their mathematical goose would be officially cooked. They’re out for practical purposes, but the math would make it official with anything less than a regulation win against the Caps. I would expect a Jackets team that’s playing like there’s no tomorrow.

Elsewhere, it’s Thursday, so you know it’s busy…

ATLANTA THRASHERS. At Philadelphia. Can clinch 14 East with a win and any Ottawa loss, OR with an overtime/shootout loss and an Ottawa regulation loss. Would be eliminated from 7 East with any loss. Would be eliminated from 8 East, and playoff contention, with any of the following: a regulation loss; a Rangers win; or an overtime/shootout loss and a Rangers overtime/shootout loss.

BOSTON BRUINS. Toronto. Can clinch 6 East, and 2 Northeast, with an overtime/shootout loss. Can clinch Northeast Division championship, and 3 East, with a win.

BUFFALO SABRES. Idle. Would be eliminated from 4 East, and 1 Northeast, with a Boston win or overtime/shootout. Can clinch 10 East with a win, overtime/shootout, or any Atlanta loss.

CALGARY FLAMES. Idle. Would be eliminated from 5 West with a Los Angeles win or overtime/shootout.

CAROLINA HURRICANES. Idle. Would be eliminated from 5 East, and 2 Southeast, with a Tampa Bay win.

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS. Idle. Can clinch 12 West, and 4 Central, with any Columbus loss.

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS. At Washington. Would be eliminated from playoff contention, 8 West, and 2 Central, with any loss.

DALLAS STARS. At San Jose. Would be eliminated from 1 Pacific, and 3 West, with any loss. (Note: Cannot clinch over Columbus tonight, even with a regulation win and a Columbus regulation loss. Season series has not been clinched, so tie break is inconclusive.)

DETROIT RED WINGS. Idle. Can clinch a playoff berth, and 8 West, with a Dallas regulation loss.

LOS ANGELES KINGS. At Vancouver. Can clinch 9 West with a win or overtime/shootout.

MINNESOTA WILD. Edmonton. Would be eliminated from 7 West with any loss, or with a Nashville win or overtime/shootout loss.

MONTREAL CANADIENS. Idle. If Boston defeats Toronto, Montreal would clinch 10 East and 3 Northeast, AND be eliminated from 4 East and 1 Northeast.

NASHVILLE PREDATORS. At Colorado. Can clinch 10 West with a win or overtime/shootout loss.

NEW JERSEY DEVILS. Idle. Would be eliminated from 7 East, and 3 Atlantic, with a Rangers win or overtime/shootout loss.

NEW YORK RANGERS. At Islanders. Could clinch only 11 East, and 3 Atlantic, with an overtime/shootout loss, AND an Atlanta win. Could clinch only 11 East with a regulation loss, AND an Atlanta regulation loss. Can clinch 10 East, and 3 Atlantic, with a win, or an overtime/shootout loss AND an Atlanta overtime/shootout loss. Would be eliminated from 4 East, and 2 Atlantic, with a regulation loss; a Pittsburgh win; or an overtime/shootout loss AND a Pittsburgh overtime/shootout loss. Could finalize 3 Atlantic by clinching over New Jersey and being eliminated by Pittsburgh.

OTTAWA SENATORS. At Florida. Would be eliminated from 11 East with any loss and an Atlanta win, OR with a regulation loss and an Atlanta overtime/shootout loss.

PHILADELPHIA FLYERS. Atlanta. Can clinch 4 East with a win and any Tampa Bay loss, or with an overtime/shootout loss and a Tampa Bay regulation loss. Would be eliminated from President’s Trophy consideration with any loss and a Vancouver regulation or overtime win; OR with a regulation loss and ANY Vancouver win.

SAN JOSE SHARKS. Dallas. Can clinch a playoff berth, 8 West, and 4 Pacific, with a win.

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING. Pittsburgh. Can clinch playoffs, 8 East, and 2 Southeast, with a win. Would be eliminated from 1 East with any loss and a Philadelphia win, OR with a regulation loss and a Philadelphia overtime/shootout loss.

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS. At Boston. Would be eliminated from 6 East, and 2 Northeast, with any loss. Would be eliminated from 7 East with any loss and a Rangers win, or with a regulation loss and a Rangers overtime/shootout loss.

VANCOUVER CANUCKS. Los Angeles. Can clinch President’s Trophy with a regulation win and any Philadelphia loss, OR with any win and a Philadelphia regulation loss.

See you all at the rink tonight.–CS

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