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Investigating Playoff Teams at the All-Star Break

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The Hurricanes go into the All-Star break strong and considerably closer to the playoff cutoff, but still on the outside looking in. We take a look at how past playoff teams have fared going into the All-Star break and what that means for postseason hopes here in Raleigh.

Jamie Kellner

As we go into the break surrounding the NHL All-Star Game, the Carolina Hurricanes sit at 24-20-6 with 54 points. That’s the most wins they’ve carried into the midseason break in eight seasons. The fact that they’re still in the hunt for an Eastern Conference playoff spot is mostly thanks to their exceptional play in January, a month in which they earned an 8-3-1 record and 17 out of 24 possible points.

Despite a better season than many expected, the Hurricanes still sit four points out of the second Wild Card spot that’s currently occupied by the Pittsburgh Penguins. That’s not to say that they’re out of the hunt entirely, but rather that there’s still plenty of work to do to secure an elusive postseason berth. Let’s take a look at how recent playoff bound clubs fared as they went into the All-Star break.

Note: teams are listed in the order in which they were seeded in the playoffs, but the point totals listed are what each team had at the break.


2016 Playoff Bound Teams

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division

Metro

Wild Card

Western Conference

Central

Pacific

Wild Card


2017 Playoff Bound Teams

Eastern Conference

Atlantic

Metro

Wild Card

Western Conference

Central

  • Chicago Blackhawks - 65 points
  • Minnesota Wild - 69 points
  • St. Louis Blues - 53 points

Pacific

  • Anaheim Ducks - 63 points
  • Edmonton Oilers - 64 points
  • San Jose Sharks - 64 points

Wild Card


2018 Playoff Bound Teams

Eastern Conference

Atlantic

  • Tampa Bay Lightning - 71 points
  • Boston Bruins - 66 points
  • Toronto Maple Leafs - 61 points

Metro

  • Washington Capitals - 63 points
  • Pittsburgh Penguins -57 points
  • Philadelphia Flyers - 56 points

Wild Card

Western Conference

Central

  • Nashville Predators - 65 points
  • Winnipeg Jets - 66 points
  • Minnesota Wild - 57 points

Pacific

Wild Card


The cutoff for playoff bound teams at the All-Star break seems to be somewhere in the ballpark of 55 points. There have been a few exceptions to that rule, most notably the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2015-16 season, who carried just 50 points into the mid-winter break. The Hurricanes’ 54 points at this juncture is an improvement over past seasons, but not considerably. They carried 52 points into the All-Star game last season, and in 2015-16 they matched their current mark of 54 points, albeit with one fewer win.

Regardless of how you spin it, the Hurricanes still have plenty of ground to make up. The playoff finish line that all 31 teams are racing towards is about 95 points. Get yourself to that mark and you’re almost always in a playoff series in April. In order for the team to get there, they’ll need 41 points in their remaining 32 games — about 1.3 points per game. That’s not an unrealistic pace, especially given the body of work that they’ve established in January. But just one or two missteps down the stretch will render another season lost to the longest active playoff streak in the NHL. The Hurricanes have their work cut out for them.