Monday, April 2, 2012

79 down, 3 to go, and the playoffs...

still out of reach.

The Buffalo Sabres sit in 9th place right now two points behind eighth place Washington. Make that three points considering that the Caps hold the tiebreaker.

Ottawa is in, and Florida needs two points to assure they're in for the first time post-lockout. (Quick note, that would leave the Toronto Maple Leaves as the only team not to make the post season since the lockout)

It's a pretty simple formula:  the Sabres, for all intents and purposes, will need to win their remaining three games to have a legitimate shot. For them to get in, Washington will gain no more than three points in their final three games which equates to no better than a 1-1-1 or 0-0-3 record

In the case of Florida, they need to snag only two points in their final three games to make it in.

Should all three teams tie, Washington would win the Southeast Division by virtue of the tie breaker over Florida and Buffalo, if regulation/overtime wins remain deadlocked, would get in via the third tiebreaker--goal differential--should everything hold true to form. The Sabres and Cats went 2-1-1 vs. each other in the head-to-head tiebreaker.

The final week of the regular season, and the playoff aspirations of the Sabres, begins tonight as Washington visits Tampa Bay.

Here are the standings as of today:
  • Florida--91 points
  • Washington--88
  • Buffalo--86

The remaining schedule:
  • Florida--Winnipeg, @Washington, Carolina
  • Washington--@Tampa Bay, Florida, @NY Rangers
  • Buffalo--Toronto, @Philadelphia, @Boston
Thursday will be the big day as Florida and Washington meet, as those two, along with Buffalo, will have all played a game before then.

The odds are longer now than they were last week, but there's still a possibility that Buffalo can get in.

Edit:  The odds got even longer as defenseman Christian Ehrhoff is gone for the regular season because of a knee injury.  WGR's Paul Hamilton puts together interesting stats:  with Ehrhoff in the lineup the Sabres are 36-22-8 for a .606 percentage. When he's out of the lineup they're 2-9-2 which equates to a .231 percentage.

Tyler Myers took a blast off of his foot and is questionable for tomorrow's game. Hamilton gives us these stats:  with Myers in the lineup the team is 31-21-4 (.589) without him they're 7-10-6 (.435).

Here's a link to Mr. Hamilton's article:

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