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NHL Playoff Death Watch: Ottawas big chance; West bubble chaos

Since we’re down to the final moments of postseason life for teams in contention, Puck Daddy solemnly begins a daily countdown to annihilation.

The Western Conference bubble is the story of Monday night, as the three lowest point-earners in playoff seeds and the four teams chasing them are all in action.

Colorado at Calgary: The Flames currently hold the third seed in the Pacific with 84 points; the Avs are up to 78 points, but need to overtake one of the wild card teams to get in. And their 24 ROW means that probably won’t happen.

Minnesota at Toronto: Devan Dubnyk plays in his one hundredth straight game (or so it seems) for the Wild, who have 87 points and are in the first wild card, five in back of Chicago for the third seed in the Central. The Blackhawks don’t have the tie-breaker, but do have a game in-hand.

Edmonton at Winnipeg: The Jets have 86 points, inhabiting the second wild card. But their 30 ROW is the lowest among current playoff teams, and that makes them vulnerable to both the Flames and the Kings.

LA Kings at New Jersey: The Kings go back-to-back in NJ and at MSG, trailing the Jets by six for the wild card and trailing the Flames by two points for third in the Pacific. Their 32 ROW is behind Calgary (35) and ahead of the Jets (30), and they have a game in-hand on both.

San Jose at Ottawa: All the Sharks have to do to jumpstart their playoff hopes is beat one of the hottest teams on the planet with a chance to move into a playoff spot tonight. San Jose has 78 points, tied with Colorado but with 32 ROW.

Buffalo at Dallas: Lindy Ruff tries to do his old mates a solid by beating them. The Stars have 78 points and 31 ROW, needing to overtake one of the wild cards.

Here are the current standings. The Death Watch tracks the final Wild Card spot and the teams that are chasing it. Their “tragic number” is the number of points gained by the final wild card team or lost by the team chasing it.

All playoff percentages are from Sports Club Stats; tragic numbers and other figures via the NHL. A team is eliminated from play-offs when their “Tragic Number” hits 0.

Here’s the Eastern Conference picture: 

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The Bruins have now swung the door wide open for the Sens, who can move into sole possession of the last wild card spot with a win over the Sharks, and for the Panthers, who still have two games remaining with the B’s.

Over in the West …

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The race for the President’s Trophy features the Anaheim Ducks (99 points) chasing the New York Rangers (99, 42 ROW, 11 games left) and the Montreal Canadiens (99 points, 40 ROW, 9 games left). The Tampa Bay Lightning (97, 43 ROW, 9 games left) and St. Louis Blues (97, 36 ROW, 9 games left) are right there, with Nashville (96, 38 ROW, 9 games left) fading. 


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