[note: buried at the end of the post is a schedule analysis of the seven teams currently in the 7-13th seed pile-up]
The Good: Kings win, Preds lose, Wild lose, Hawks lose, Ducks half-lose.
The Bad: Canucks win, Wings win, Flames win, Stars win.
The point being...
Two points separate 3 from 6. Seven points separate 7 from 14.
Here are the standings*:
- San Jose Sharks 37 (1) +11
- Chicago Blackhawks 39 (2) +9
- Vancouver Canucks 48 (3) 0
- Los Angeles Kings 48 (5) --
- Phoenix Coyotes 49 (4) -1
- Colorado Avalanche 50 (6) -2
- Nashville Predators 55 (7) -7
- Detroit Red Wings 56 (8) -8
- Calgary Flames 57 (9) -9
- Dallas Stars 60 (10) -12
- Minnesota Wild 61 (13) -13
- St. Louis Blues 61 (11) -13
- Anaheim Ducks 62 (12) -14
- Columbus Blue Jackets 71 (14) -23
- Edmonton Oilers 82 (15) -36
And here's the record each team needs from here on, to get to the assumed (by me) magical point total of 95. With tonight's loss, Columbus can't get there.
- San Jose Sharks 1-16-0
- Chicago Blackhawks 2-15-0
- Phoenix Coyotes 6-10-0
- Vancouver Canucks 6-10-1
- Los Angeles Kings 6-10-1
- Colorado Avalanche 7-9-1
- Nashville Predators 10-7-0
- Detroit Red Wings 10-6-1
- Calgary Flames 11-6-0
- St. Louis Blues 13-5-0
- Dallas Stars 12-4-1
- Minnesota Wild 14-4-0
- Anaheim Ducks 13-3-1
Columbus Blue Jackets Edmonton Oilers
Bonus schedule analysis, starting with the steepest odds:
Anaheim - 13-3-1 sounds like a nearly impossible feat. They've got 5 (out of 17) games against the other six teams fighting for the 7th and 8th seeds. STL, DAL, DAL, CGY, NSH. Two against Dallas.
Minnesota - Seven out of eighteen games against the other six teams. DET, STL, NSH, CGY, DET, CGY, DAL. That's two Wings and two Flames.
Dallas - Five out of seventeen: NSH, ANA, STL, ANA, MIN. That's two Ducks.
St. Louis - Seven out of eighteen: NSH, ANA, DAL, NSH, DET, NSH, MIN. Three against the Preds.
Calgary - Five out of seventeen: DET, DET, MIN, ANA, MIN. Two Wings, two Wild.
Detroit - Seven out of seventeen: CGY, MIN, CGY, STL, MIN, NSH, NSH. Two Flames, two Wild, two Preds.
Nashville - Eight out of seventeen: ANA, MIN, STL, DAL, DET, STL, DET, STL. Two Wings, three Blues.
So there's basically a three-game series between Nashville and St. Louis. Nashville has the most games against its direct competition (8), followed by Detroit, Minnesota and St. Louis (7), and Anaheim, Dallas and Calgary (5). I'm assuming that the more games against your competition, the greater control over your own fate. I think Calgary is screwed anyway, because of the toughness of its schedule. After Nashville, I think Detroit has the most favorable match-ups here, with three two-gamers; the two games with Calgary are especially big -- never mind, they're all big.
I do think it will be Nashville and Detroit who prevail to grab the last two seeds.
*standings in points-blown explained: two points "awarded" for every loss, one point for every OTL/SOL. Lowest point total is best. Number in parentheses is the official standings (via ESPN). Last number (+/-) is number of points (in my system) ahead or behind Los Angeles. Because it's a Kings-centric universe.