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Breaking Down Remaining Playoff Scenarios

Friday, 04.8.2011 / 10:35 AM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Breaking Down Remaining Playoff Scenarios
The Hurricanes are usually in the thick of a playoff race at the end of the regular season, but rarely have they experienced this many ups and downs.

Paul Branecky
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They’ve played as well as they have all season down the stretch, posting a record of 8-2-1 since March 15, which marks the most wins they’ve had in any 11-game stretch. Still, with ground needing to be made up, each point dropped and each point gained by their competition has been a serious setback – enough to nearly end their postseason aspirations.

The rollercoaster ride has never been wilder than the last five days. According to Sportsclubstats.com, the Canes’ chance of making the playoffs heading into Sunday’s game against Buffalo was 42.5 percent. An overtime loss in that game, coupled with the New York Rangers’ comeback win against Boston the following day, pegged the number down to a season-low 7.7 percent. A few days later, with a Canes win over Detroit and a Rangers loss to Atlanta, it’s back up to 36.9.

That swing will be even more dramatic after the Hurricanes’ game against Atlanta tonight. Win and they’re up another 25 percent. Lose, and the odds go down just as much.

Even with just two games left, there are still multiple scenarios that would see Carolina qualify for the playoffs. Thanks to the Rangers’ loss, they’re guaranteed of a spot by winning both games and avoiding shootouts. Depending on what the Rangers do against New Jersey on Saturday afternoon, they may only need to win one.

Here’s a breakdown of the possible outcomes and what they would mean for Carolina, taking into account the first tiebreaker (regulation or overtime wins) and the fact that Carolina owns the second tiebreaker by having earned more points in the season series with the Rangers:

CAROLINA RESULT
PLAYOFFS?
2-0-0 (wins in OT or regulation)
YES – CAR has more points or ROW tiebreak
2-0-0 (one win in shootout)
YES – CAR has more points or head-to-head tiebreak
2-0-0 (both wins in shootout)
NEED HELP – NYR must lose (fewer points) or win in SO (ROW tiebreak)
1-0-1
NEED HELP – NYR must lose (fewer points) or lose in OT or SO (ROW tiebreak)
1-1-0
NEED HELP – NYR must lose in regulation (ROW tiebreak)
0-0-2
NEED HELP – NYR must lose in regulation (head-to-head tiebreak)
0-1-1
NO
0-2-0
NO

Carolina could still pass Buffalo and finish seventh if Buffalo loses their final two games in regulation. Carolina would not pass Buffalo on a tiebreaker unless they can make up an 18-goal disadvantage in goal differential, which is the third tiebreaker. Carolina can do no better than match Buffalo in the first two tiebreakers, as the two teams tied their season series with five points apiece.


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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 52 39 9 4 171 117 82
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 53 30 18 5 150 135 65
4 NYI 52 28 18 6 145 129 62
5 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
6 DET 53 27 18 8 133 131 62
7 BOS 53 28 19 6 153 146 62
8 PIT 52 27 18 7 138 132 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
12 OTT 54 25 23 6 153 166 56
13 PHI 52 23 20 9 122 137 55
14 BUF 54 21 27 6 124 146 48
15 CBJ 55 21 28 6 137 170 48
16 TOR 52 19 24 9 120 144 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 54 15 19 -13 34
J. Skinner 54 19 12 -3 31
V. Rask 52 12 19 0 31
J. Staal 54 12 19 8 31
K. Versteeg 53 10 21 1 31
E. Staal 54 9 21 0 30
E. Lindholm 54 8 16 -9 24
A. Nestrasil 47 7 12 0 19
J. Nordstrom 43 5 9 2 14
R. Hainsey 54 3 11 -11 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 15 11 6 .908 2.38
E. Lack 9 10 3 .901 2.74
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