Tuesday night was kind of disappointing when it came to the playoff picture, since nobody clinched (lookin' at you, Tampa), while both the Blackhawks and Sabres lost last night, giving three teams an extra game of hope that there might still be something left in the tank for them. Some might think the hope is a good thing, but my team is already in and the playoff pool needs some finality to it all, so I'm hoping for results.
Okay, the Lightning have the chance to clinch their playoff spot again tonight, but not by their own hand. The Carolina/Montreal game will decide the immediate fate of the Lightning, as the Hurricanes are holding down the 9th spot and an out right loss would mean that they cannot catch the Lightning. An overtime/shootout loss would still give them tie-breaking abilities, but that's about it.
Also in the East, the Devils can be eliminated with a regulation loss to the Islanders tonight and a point for the Sabres in their game versus the Rangers. The Devils still have a tie-break chance if the Sabres were to lose to the Rangers in regulation, but a point would seal the deal, assuming the Devils lose as well. I have a feeling that the Devils will live to fight another day.
In the West, the Blues have the tough task of playing the Red Wings in Detroit tonight, where even an overtime loss will seal their fate. St. Louis is only holding on to a fishing line of hope, with the same amount of potential points, currently the same potential shootout adjusted wins (if St. Louis wins out and Chicago loses) and if St. Louis was to win out, they would have to beat Chicago one more time, giving them the edge in the third tie-break, which is results against one another. Great stuff there. Again, all it takes is a loss in overtime for St. Louis and they are finished.
In the other games, the Rangers and Sabres could do each other a favour tonight and go to overtime, making things more difficult for the teams below them. Carolina and Toronto are definitely hoping for a regulation result, more so for the Rangers, keeping their hopes of catching 8th alive. Calgary hosts Anaheim to keep their slim hopes alive. Their death number is 4 regulation losses in their last five games. Anaheim to clinch their spot is still 11 points, for 6 wins to control their own fate. This game has the ability to keep the crazy locked in or create some breathing space.
Looks like scoreboard watching will be fun again tonight!