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 (four bubble teams, three spots available)
Detroit Red Wings — 0-2-1
Boston Bruins — 0-2-1
Pittsburgh Penguins — 1-2-0
Ottawa Senators — 2-0-1
Welcome to the list, Pittsburgh. The Penguins got a break last night when the Senators could only get a point in Toronto; the Pens play in Ottawa Tuesday and could all but end the Sens’ hopes then. And honestly, even a regulation loss wouldn’t be catastrophic. Not with another chance to get a win Friday at home versus the Isles. And if not then, their final game of the season is against the Sabres in Buffalo. If they can go just 1-2-0 in their final three, it’s estimated they’ll have an 88.9 percent chance of qualifying. The Sens, meanwhile, have to finish on the road against the Rangers and Flyers.
Western Conference (four bubble teams, three spots available)
Vancouver Canucks — 0-2-1
Calgary Flames — 1-1-1
Los Angeles Kings — 2-2-0
Winnipeg Jets — 2-1-1
Vancouver’s back on the list, though only barely. If the Canucks can’t find a way to get a point in three home games against the Kings, Coyotes and Oilers, that would be quite the story. The great thing about this race is that much of it will be decided head-to-head. The Canucks host the Kings tonight; the Kings are in Calgary Thursday; and the Flames are in Winnipeg Saturday. Of the four teams on the list, the Jets are most behind the 8-ball. This is how their remaining schedule looks:
Can they find five points in that?