Tuesday's games made the playoff race a lot clearer. Unfortunately for the Hurricanes, it's not exactly the clarity they were looking for.
Let's review from last night's post what the different scenarios were.
If the Canes go 3-0-0: They will finish with 93 points, and need one of the following things to happen:
- The Rangers go 1-1-0 or worse (keeping in mind the Canes own the tiebreaker).
- The Sabres go 1-2-0 or worse.
The Canadiens (yes, they're still in play if the Canes go undefeated in regulation the rest of the way) go 0-2-1 or worse. (The Habs own the tiebreaker over the Canes with 39 ROW.)
If the Canes go 2-0-1: They will finish with 92 points, and need one of the following things to happen:
- The Rangers go 0-1-1 or worse.
The Sabres go 0-2-1 or worse.
The Canadiens go 0-3-0.
If the Canes go 2-1-0 or 1-0-2: They will finish with 91 points, meaning they would not be able to catch the Canadiens due to the tiebreaker. The Canes would need either the Rangers to go 0-2-0
or the Sabres to go 0-3-0.
If the Canes get anything less than four points in their final three games: They are cooked. They will not be able to catch the Rangers or Canadiens, and since they by definition can't both earn the tiebreaker over the Sabres and earn less than four points (since they need to go 3-0 to earn the tiebreaker), the Sabres would be in as well.
Bottom line - if the Sabres
or Canadiensget to 93 points, the Canes cannot catch them. If the Rangers get to 94, the Canes cannot catch them. If all three of those things happen, the Canes are out no matter how they finish. Additionally, one of the three teams above the Canes must lose at least one game in regulation. If all three teams get points in each of their remaining games, no matter how, the Canes are done, with one (and only one) exception: if the Rangers go 0-0-2 and the Canes go 3-0-0, the Canes will be in.
After tonight, there are only four scenarios by which the Canes make the playoffs:
The Canes go 3-0-0 and the Rangers go either 1-1-0, 0-1-1 or 0-0-2.
The Canes go 3-0-0 and the Sabres go 0-2-0.
The Canes go 2-0-1 and the Rangers go 0-1-1 or worse.
The Canes go either 2-1-0 or 1-0-2 and the Rangers go 0-2-0.
Translation: if the Canes don't beat the Red Wings tomorrow night, their only hope is that the Rangers take zero points from their last two games, and that the Canes sweep the Atlanta/Tampa back-to-back on Friday and Saturday. Anything else and it's curtains.
However, if the Canes beat the WIngs tomorrow night, check back here Thursday for the updated scenarios. Stay tuned...we aren't quite done yet.