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By the Numbers: So, the Playoffs... Plausible or Pipe Dream?

The Carolina Hurricanes probably won’t make the playoffs this year, but they might. Find out more mathematical specificities behind those two #HotTakes here

NHL: Philadelphia Flyers at Carolina Hurricanes James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time in a long time, there have been points this season where it legitimately seemed like the Hurricanes have had a shot at ending their seven-year long playoff drought.

That all took a huge hit with the five-game losing streak that the team suffered heading into the all-star break, but things turned around a bit with the three-game winning streak following the break.

According to Sports Club Stats, the Hurricanes had about a 64 percent. chance to make the playoffs following their 7-4 win over the Islanders in Raleigh.

By the time that five-game winning streak was done, that number fell all the way to 11 percent.

The bye week has actually come at a good time for the Hurricanes. While their playoff odds had completely cratered prior to the all-star break, Carolina’s 3-2-0 record immediately after the break propelled them back up to 14.93 percent heading into the bye.

Now, they’ve finally started to get some help. Without playing a single game and with the team getting some much-needed rest, the Hurricanes playoff odds sit at an even 16 percent.

What Will it Take?

The Hurricanes currently have 55 points in the standings in 53 games played. That means that they have 29 games to go.

According to Sports Club Stats, the cut off for the playoffs figures to be at 93 points. If they reach that number, the Hurricanes would have a 64.4 percent chance to make the playoffs. At 92 points, that number drops to 48 percent.

To get to 93 points, the Hurricanes would have procure 38 points from their final 29 games. In terms of a record, that would look like 17-8-4, 16-7-6, 18-9-2, 19-10-0, or 15-6-8.

That seems like a tall order, but the schedule is favorable the rest of the way. Carolina still hasn’t played either of the two worst teams in the league in Arizona Coyotes and Colorado Avalanche.

That will change VERY quickly coming out of the break, as four of the team’s next ten games come against those two, starting with the Avalanche in Raleigh tomorrow night.

If the ‘Canes can sweep those four games — which is something that a good, playoff caliber team should absolutely do — the Hurricanes would simply need to go 13-8-4, 14-9-2, or equivalent in their other 25 games.

Is that particularly likely? Not really, but it’s certainly possible. This team has shown flashes of the ability to play very well occasionally throughout the year, and if Cam Ward can find a way to replicate what he was doing when the team was really winning with regularity, I believe it could be done.

The good news is that we should know pretty quickly whether or not there’s a legitimate chance this could happen, and it will all depend on the Hurricanes’ ability to capitalize on their five-game home stand out of the bye coupled with their four meetings with the league’s two doormats.