Playoff watch -- what the bubble teams need to do
Using Sports Club Stats, here are the records each bubble team needs down the stretch to earn a better-than-50-percent shot of making the playoffs...
Eastern Conference (five bubble teams, two spots available)
Washington Capitals -- 9-14-2 (51.5%)
Boston Bruins -- 12-11-4 (57.3%)
Florida Panthers -- 15-8-4 (54.3%)
Philadelphia Flyers -- 17-7-2 (53.5%)
Ottawa Senators -- 19-7-2 (54.6%)
So, for now, the final playoff spot still looks likely to go to Boston. That said, the Bruins are mired in a three-game losing streak, with four games remaining on their road trip (tonight in Calgary, with games in Edmonton, St. Louis and Chicago to follow). If they’re not feeling the pressure, they should be.
Western Conference (eight bubble teams, four spots available)
Vancouver Canucks -- 12-12-3 (55.8%)
Calgary Flames -- 12-11-3 (55.1%)
Winnipeg Jets -- 11-10-3 (54.4%)
San Jose Sharks -- 13-10-1 (58.2%)
Los Angeles Kings -- 14-10-3 (56.8%)
Minnesota Wild -- 13-10-4 (57.7%)
Dallas Stars -- 16-8-2 (61.0%)
Colorado Avalanche -- 17-6-3 (54.8%)
Fascinating race here. The first four teams are currently in a playoff spot, but it’s the two chasing those four, the Kings and Wild, that are a) playing better hockey lately and b) arguably the better teams anyway. Regardless, all six teams are entirely capable of achieving those records. For the two that end up falling short, it’s going to hurt. As for the long-shot Stars and Avalanche, with March 2 looming, these next two weeks will be especially key.