The Montreal Canadiens were passed in the standings last night by the Toronto Maple Leafs. This is no need to panic, aside from the fact it is the Leafs, as there will be plenty of jostling for position over the final few weeks of the NHL season.
Montreal currently sits third in the Atlantic Division with 77 points. They are one back of Toronto for second and six ahead of the Detroit Red Wings who are outside the playoff positioning.
Below, shows the current NHL standings but with an extra column at the far right that shows how many points each team is on pace to finish the season with. There is hardly anything scientific about this, I just assume everyone remains at their current point percentage for the rest of the season.
Of course this is not going to happen, but for the most part it will give an idea of where the cutoff will be for playoff teams and teams that fall just short.
As we can see here, 91 points would be just enough to make the playoffs if teams continue at their current pace. Again, a surge by Washington or New Jersey could skew this a bit but not by much, and not at all if it is met with a drop in play by Tampa Bay or Columbus.
Basically, what this chart tells us is that if the Montreal Canadiens find a way to get 91 points they are playing with fire but could make the playoffs. If Montreal finds a way to get 93 points, they should easily grab a wild card position. If Montreal plays well and finishes with the 96 points they are on pace for, they will be battling for an Atlantic Division seed.
|Atlantic Team||Games Played||Wins||Losses||Overtime Losses||Points||Predicted Finish|
|Metropolitan Team||Games Played||Wins||Losses||Overtime Losses||Points||Predicted Finish|
|Wildcard Team||Games Played||Wins||Losses||Overtime Losses||Points||Predicted Finish|
|Non Playoff Team||Games Played||Wins||Losses||Overtime Losses||Points||Predicted Finish|
So, what will it take for the Habs to make the NHL Playoffs?
Well, they already have 77 points in the bank, and would need to get to 93 just to be safe. That gives the Canadiens 16 games to get 16 points and be sure of playing postseason hockey this year.
A .500 record of 8-8-0 or 7-7-2 over the final 16 games is all it will take for the Habs to be in the postseason for the second consecutive season.