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Updated Extremes (In case you weren't aware that this is a really big game)

Yesterday, we took a look at the extremes of what 5 NHL games in 28 hours would do the the Carolina Hurricanes chances of making the playoffs. The alternatives went from 6th in the standings and a 73% likelihood of postseason action to almost statistically eliminated, season over.

While the final results weren't the best-case scenario last night, with the Montreal Canadiens defeating the Devils, and the Buffalo Sabres getting a single point in their OT loss to the Washington Capitals, the win in the Nassau Colisseum for the Canes was the most important one in the bunch.

Following up, I've got those best and worst case scenario charts reflecting last night's action and illustrating the possible scenarios for the two significant games to be played today: New York Rangers at Philadelphia Flyers, 12:30 (NBC) and the Buffalo Sabres at Carolina Hurricanes, 5pm. Check them out following the jump.

The first table shows what Canes fans hope will happen today.

In the matinee in Philadelphia, the Flyers and Rangers are both coming off 2 consecutive losses. The Flyers also lost their top spot in the Eastern Conference to the Capitals last night, but they can reclaim it with a win today. The Rangers are hot-and-cold, and most recently lost in humiliating fashion to the Islanders in Nassau Thursday night. Which team will show up for John Tortorella this afternoon?

If the Flyers can turn it around and keep the Rangers off their best effort, and the Canes win their third in a row and take the 2 points (in regulation), Carolina will be looking strong, but still won't have the playoffs locked up by a long shot. But getting there will be a heckuva lot easier for their three remaining games.

Best case Scenario
Team (current seed) Canes (9th) Rangers (8th) Sabres (7th)
Current chances - % (SportsClubStats.com) 42.5 75.2 82.0
Sunday
Flyers beat Rangers 7.5 -12.8 4.4
Canes beat Sabres 24.4 -5.6 -18.5
Resulting % Chance to make Playoffs 74.4% 56.8% 67.9%
Tragic Number 6
Points in standings 88 87 88
Games Remaining 3 3 3
Non-Shootout Wins 34 33 34
Seed 7 9 8

And Rangers fans will be on the ledge (again).

With a win today, the Canes would also have the advantage on the 3rd tie-breaker vs Buffalo in the playoff standings. They would own a 3-1-0 head-to-head record vs the Sabres, which would factor in only if they are tied by points and number of non-shootout wins, which are the first two tie-breakers this year.

The Canes currently have more non-Shootout wins than the Rangers. Head to head, the Canes are 2-0-2 (gaining 6 points to the Rangers' 4 in the series) so Carolina would be ahead of the New York team if that 3rd level tiebreaker is needed.

In contrast, the worst case scenario shows us where we're at should both the Rangers and Sabres come out with regulation wins today. It's not quite as gloomy as yesterday's hell-in-a-handbasket projections, but it's still ugly..

Worst case scenario
Team (current seed) Canes (9th) Rangers (8th) Sabres (7th)
Current chances - % 42.5 75.2 82.0
Sunday
Rangers beat Flyers -6.4 13.8 -4.6
Sabres beat Canes -19.1 8.6 16.4
Resulting % Chance to make Playoffs 17.0% 97.6% 93.8%
Tragic number 4
Points in standings 86 89 90
Games Remaining 3 3 3
Non-Shootout Wins 32 34 36
Seed 9 8 7

The Canes Tragic number would be at 4 and their playoff chances at 17%. Considering they were about there (below 20%) a week ago, it doesn't mean it's over. But then they will need to win out, and/or count on the Rangers, who host the Boston Bruins Monday night, to stumble and allow the Canes to sneak in.

Hurricanes remaining schedule

New York Rangers remaining schedule

  • Monday, 4/4, Home vs the Boston Bruins
  • Thursday, 4.7, Home vs the Atlanta Thrashers
  • Saturday, 4/9, Home vs the New Jersey Devils

Buffalo Sabres remaining schedule

  • Tuesday, 4/5, Home vs the Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Friday, 4/8, Home vs the Philadelphia Flyers
  • Saturday, 4/9, Away vs Columbus Blue Jackets

For a look at remaining games for all Eastern Conference teams, check out this chart.