Playoff Race Clusterf**k, Mar. 31
Last night, the Sabres shut out the Rangers 1-0, the Devils beat the Islanders 3-1, and the Hurricanes put the hurt on the Canadiens to the tune of 6-2. That moved the Sabres into 7th place, knocked the Rangers temporarily into 8th, kept the Hurricanes only 3 points behind the Sabres, kept the Devils barely alive, and kept the Canadiens only 2 points ahead of both the Sabres and Rangers.
The Devils are in absolutely dire straits and will require both the Sabres and Rangers to lose out in regulation in order to make it into the post-season. If the Sabres and Rangers get at least one point in each of their next games, the Devils are mathematically eliminated. Atlanta is in the same position as the Devils despite having two more points because their ROW rating is so low. One more point by the Sabres and two more points from the Rangers puts the Thrashers out of their misery as well.
If the Rangers beat the Islanders, that puts them back in front of the Sabres but it gets the gears rolling to eliminate the Devils and Thrashers. The Bruins beating the Maples Leafs would give the Sabres a little bit of room to breath. If the Thrashers beat the Flyers, they stay alive. If they lose, it doesn’t matter how the Sabres and Rangers do – they’re mathematically done. The other two games in the Eastern conference – PIT/TBL and OTT/FLA – really have no bearing on the bottom spots of the playoff race.