Playoff chances report for Eastern Conference, Western Conference

NHL News


The New York Rangers played a game against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night that was over before the end of the second period. Not just because the hottest team in hockey had built a 5-1 lead and chased Hernik Lundqvist from his crease, but because anyone observing this mess could see the Rangers had unplugged their controllers, unable to find the reset button.

“It was disappointing, frustrating and embarrassing. When you lose a lot, it’s going to affect you a little bit. You have to work harder to stay in a certain mindset as a group,” Lundqvist said after the game.

The problem for the Rangers, and other NHL teams currently in a spiral: Time is running short. Money Puck, which runs a simulation of the rest of the season 100,000 times to figure out probabilities, sets the Rangers’ playoff chances at 12.79 percent. Only seven teams have lower ones than do the Rangers at this point.

At this point, the target points for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference is around 90. In the Western Conference, it’s a bit hairier: About 98 points.

“The key right now is not to overreact when bad things happen. But that’s hard when things have been going as bad as they have lately,” said Lundqvist.

Are the Rangers alive? What about the rest of the bubble teams in the NHL?

Here’s a look at the playoff picture, with odds from Money Puck, Sports Club Stats and Hockey Viz. We encourage you to visit each site to learn more about their methodology.

If you’re interested in what the current playoff matchups look like, here they are.


Eastern Conference

Philadelphia Flyers
25-19-9, 59 points, .557 points percentage

Since Jan. 1: 9-5-1, .633 points percentage
Home/away games remaining: 14/15
Money Puck playoff chances: 36.16 percent
Sports Club Stats playoff chances: 73.3 percent
Hockey Viz playoff chances: 61 percent

Hockey Viz projects the Flyers, owners of the first wild card in the East, to finish with virtually the same number of points at the Blue Jackets. They face each other twice more. One thing to watch: The Flyers finish the season at home against the Rangers. For the sake of all of the hockey purists out there, we hope it doesn’t go to a shootout.

Since Jan. 1: 5-7-1, .423 points percentage
Home/away games remaining: 14/15
Money Puck playoff chances: 66.76 percent
Sports Club Stats playoff chances: 41.7 percent
Hockey Viz playoff chances: 59 percent

The current owners of the final wild card spot in the East. The Jackets’ remaining schedule is either amazing or terrible, depending on how you feel about prolonged road trips out West at this point in the season. They swing through California at the start of March, and then Western Canada in late March. Columbus is 11-12-3 on the road this season.

New York Islanders
26-22-6, 58 points, .537 points percentage

Since Jan. 1: 6-7-2, .466 points percentage
Home/away games remaining: 15/13
Money Puck playoff chances: 31.42 percent
Sports Club Stats playoff chances: 45 percent
Hockey Viz playoff chances: 46 percent

The Islanders are within four points of the Blue Jackets, Flyers and New Jersey Devils, but have to pick up the pace again. On their current trajectory since Jan. 1, they’re looking at 84 points. They’re on the road from March 3 through March 15, at the Penguins and then through Western Canada; they then return to play six of seven at home, which could make or break the season. Keep in mind they have the Devils twice and the Flyers and Blue Jackets once more before season’s end.

Carolina Hurricanes
24-21-9, 57 points, .528 points percentage

Since Jan. 1: 6-8-2, .438 points percentage
Home/away games remaining: 15/13
Money Puck playoff chances: 39.17 percent
Sports Club Stats playoff chances: 24.5 percent
Hockey Viz playoff chances: 35 percent

Like the Islanders, they’re on a middling points pace — more of a stiff breeze than a hurricane, to be honest. In a bit of a scheduling anomaly, they play the Devils four times in the next two months. They also have the Islanders twice. We said back in November that Bill Peters could be on the hot seat if the Hurricanes miss the playoffs again; with a new owner in place, it’s been getting fierier.

New York Rangers
24-21-9, 55 points, .509 points percentage

Since Jan. 1: 3-8-4, .333 points percentage
Home/away games remaining: 11/17
Money Puck playoff chances: 12.79 percent
Sports Club Stats playoff chances: 18.8 percent
Hockey Viz playoff chances: 21 percent

To quote noted poet Kayne West: This is bad, real bad, Michael Jackson.

The Rangers have been staggeringly bad since the start of the new year, and are currently last in the Metropolitan Division in points percentage. Lundqvist has been pulled in three of his past five starts. There’s been more focus on a trade deadline purge than the team salvaging the season. Oh, and also: a team that’s 8-14-2 on the road this season plays 17 of their final 28 games away from the World’s Most Famous Arena. Yikes.

Florida Panthers
23-22-6, 52 points, .510 points percentage

Since Jan. 1: 6-6-1, .500 points percentage
Home/away games remaining: 17/14
Money Puck playoff chances: 31.2 percent
Sports Club Stats playoff chances: 20 percent
Hockey Viz playoff chances: 23 percent

The Panthers are six points out of the wild card, but deserve mention here for their recent play (four wins in a row), their favorable schedule (they’re 13-8-3 at home) and the fact that, statistically, the odds-makers give them a better shot at making the playoffs than the Rangers. It’s Harri Sateri‘s world now. We’re just all living in it.


Western Conference

San Jose Sharks
28-17-8, 64 points, .604 points percentage

Since Jan. 1: 8-5-4, .588 points percentage
Home/away games remaining: 17/12
Money Puck playoff chances: 71.02 percent
Sports Club Stats playoff chances: 72.6 percent
Hockey Viz playoff chances: 87 percent

Obviously, the big takeaway here is the Sharks’ remaining home games, as they’re 14-7-3 at the Tank. If they fall into the wild card bubble, their final three games are against the Stars, Avalanche and Wild. San Jose is in good shape despite this being the Western Conference, a place where you’re always a three-game losing streak away from being outside the playoffs.

Los Angeles Kings
29-19-5, 63 points, .594 points percentage

Since Jan. 1: 6-8-0, .428 points percentage
Home/away games remaining: 15/14
Money Puck playoff chances: 57.05 percent
Sports Club Stats playoff chances: 82.9 percent
Hockey Viz playoff chances: 68 percent

Well, we should learn a lot about the Kings in the next two weeks. After beating Edmonton 5-2 on Wednesday night, their third win in four games, the Kings head out on a seven-game road trip with its share of winnable games (Florida, Carolina, Buffalo, Chicago) and some toughies (Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Winnipeg). Like the Ducks, they end their season with Colorado, Minnesota and Dallas, after what might be a critical game at Anaheim on March 30.

Dallas Stars
31-19-4, 66 points, .611 points percentage

Since Jan. 1: 9-4-2, .667 points percentage
Home/away games remaining: 13/15
Money Puck playoff chances: 77.35 percent
Sports Club Stats playoff chances: 79.7 percent
Hockey Viz playoff chances: 72 percent

Hockey Viz actually gives the Stars a slightly better chance of making the playoffs than the St. Louis Blues, whom they’re chasing for the No. 3 seed in the Central. They’ve won three in a row and have generally been outstanding lately, giving up one goal in each of their three straight wins. One part of the schedule to keep an eye on: March 9-23, which starts with Anaheim at home, ends with Boston at home, and features roadies at Pittsburgh, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Winnipeg and Washington. Yikes.

Minnesota Wild
29-19-5, 63 points, .594 points percentage

Since Jan. 1: 9-3-2, .714 points percentage
Home/away games remaining: 15/14
Money Puck playoff chances: 43.27 percent
Sports Club Stats playoff chances: 53.3 percent
Hockey Viz playoff chances: 62 percent

The Wild, owners of the final wild-card spot, have been smokin’ hot since the turn of the calendar; or as they call it in the Western Conference, “keeping pace.” The Wild will look to bank some more points on a five-game homestand that starts Thursday night. They still have New York and California swings on the schedule. They also have two more shots at the Stars after that humbling 6-1 loss last Saturday. Once more, with feeling: Bruce Boudreau has never missed the playoffs in a season where he’s coached the entire season (i.e. not been hired or fired partway through).

Colorado Avalanche
29-19-4, 62 points, .596 points percentage

Since Jan. 1: 10-3-2, .733 points percentage
Home/away games remaining: 14/16
Money Puck playoff chances: 63.73 percent
Sports Club Stats playoff chances: 67.8 percent
Hockey Viz playoff chances: 37 percent

The Avalanche have been on pace for 105 points since Jan. 1, which is as torrid as they come. Hockey Viz targets them at 91.4 points, assuming a cooldown, which wouldn’t be good enough to make the cut. They’re poised to challenge for the last wild card, especially since Nathan MacKinnon is working his way back from injury. They have the Wild and Calgary Flames twice more on the schedule. If head coach Jared Bednar pulls this off … well, Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant is winning the Jack Adams, but maybe he’ll let Jared stay with him in Vegas as an award finalist.

Anaheim Ducks
26-19-10, 62 points, .564 points percentage

Since Jan. 1: 8-5-2, .600 points percentage
Home/away games remaining: 15/12
Money Puck playoff chances: 22.35 percent
Sports Club Stats playoff chances: 28.2 percent
Hockey Viz playoff chances: 38 percent

The Ducks have played more games (55) than anyone else in the West. Their schedule the rest of the way is interesting: Three different four-game homestands, including an epic one in late March that includes games against the Kings, Avs, Wild and Stars. Keep in mind Anaheim put together a 14-2-3 run to close out the 2016-17 season.

Chicago Blackhawks
24-21-8, 56 points, .528 points percentage

Since Jan. 1: 6-7-2, .467 points percentage
Home/away games remaining: 15/14
Money Puck playoff chances: 21.85 percent
Sports Club Stats playoff chances: 8.1 percent
Hockey Viz playoff chances: 16 percent

Do the Blackhawks even belong here? They basically need to win 22 of their last 29 games to make the playoff cut, and they’ve given little reason to believe they have a run like that in them. Even the things that should be an advantage aren’t really: They have 15 home games remaining and are one game over .500 at home. “You’ve got to win one game,” Patrick Kane told the Chicago Sun-Times this week. “I think that’s where we’re at right now. … We can’t look at trying to put together five or six in a row. That’s just going to go against you negatively.”

Anything can happen in a hotly contested playoff race. But it looks like a nine-season streak of playoff berths, which resulted in three Stanley Cups, could be at an end in Chicago, barring several miracles of varying degrees of astonishment.



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