Stanley Cup Playoffs Race: Eastern Conference A Numbers Game

Stanley Cup Playoffs Race: Eastern Conference A Numbers Game

Stanley Cup Playoffs are roughly one month away now. Several teams have already written their ticket to the postseason, while others still battle it out for those final Wild-Card spots.

Unlike the Western Conference, where two teams are battling for one spot, the Eastern Conference is more wide open. Both Wild-Card positions are still up for grabs, and while Pittsburgh and Detroit are the front-runners, several other teams are ready to pounce on a late-season collapse.

At this time of year, it’s simply a numbers game. If we can hypothetically estimate how Detroit and Pittsburgh finish the 2015-16 campaign, we can calculate what type of record teams in the hunt need to achieve for a legitimate shot at the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Eastern Conference Wild-Card Occupants:

Pittsburgh Penguins (36-24-8) 80 Points
Detroit Red Wings (34-24-11) 79 Points

Let’s make a conservative estimate that both PIT/DET finish the season with winning records. Pittsburgh has 14 games remaining – an 8-5-1 record gives them 97 points. Detroit has 13 games left on the schedule – an 8-5-0 record works, finishing with 96 points.

Teams in the Hunt

Philadelphia Flyers (32-23-12) 76 points
15 Games Remaining

Philly would need 21 points to secure a playoff spot.
Record: 10-4-1 or 9-3-3

Good or bad news depending how you look at it, the Flyers are scheduled to play their in-state rival Pittsburgh three times over their last 15 games – including twice in April. Taking at least two of those games can have significant impact.

Carolina Hurricanes (31-26-12) 74 points
13 Games Remaining

Carolina would need 23 points in this scenario.
Record: 11-1-1 or 10-0-3

The Canes only chance of making the Stanley Cup Playoffs is by having two teams ahead of them fall flat on their face, or a magnificent run.

New Jersey Devils (33-29-7) 73 points
13 Games Remaining

New Jersey needs 24 points in this scenario to secure a playoff spot.
Record: 12-1-0 or 11-0-2

In the same spot as Carolina, the Devils have little chance of securing a playoff spot. Give them credit, they had a great season.

Ottawa Senators (32-30-8) 72 points
12 Games Remaining

The Sens would need all 24 points in this situation to have a chance at securing a postseason berth. It would come down to the tiebreaker format with Detroit.
Record: 12-0-0

Needing perfection in this scenario, it doesn’t look as though the Sens can replicate their 2014-15 performance.

Perhaps no team has greater control over their own destiny than the Philadelphia Flyers. With games in hand, three games against Pittsburgh, and two more against Detroit, the Flyers can do themselves, and the teams below them a big favor by walking away with seven to 10 points in those five games.