Feb 6, 2014; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens players celebrate their win against Vancouver Canucks at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

What Record Do Montreal Canadiens Need To Make NHL Playoffs?

March 6, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Montreal Canadiens center Alex Galchenyuk (27) celebrates with defenseman P.K. Subban (76) his goal against the Phoenix Coyotes during the second period at Jobing.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

 

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.

Mar 5, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Montreal Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov (79) is congratulated by his teammates after scoring the winning goal during the shootout against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center. The Canadiens won 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

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
Boston    64    42    17    5    89   114
Toronto    66    35    23    8    78    97
Montreal    66    35    24    7    77    96
Metropolitan Team Games Played   Wins   Losses Overtime Losses   Points Predicted Finish
Pittsburgh    64    43    17     4    90    115
Philadelphia    64    33    24     7    73     94
NY Rangers    65    35    26     4    74     93

 

Wildcard Team  Games    Played    Wins   Losses Overtime Losses   Points Predicted Finish
TampaBay    65    34    24     7    75    95
Columbus    64    33    26     5    71    91

 

Non Playoff Team Games Played Wins Losses Overtime Losses Points Predicted Finish
Detroit 64 29 22 13 71 91
Washington 66 30 26 10 70 87
New Jersey 65 28 24 13 69 87
Ottawa 65 28 25 12 68 86
Carolina 64 27 28   9 63 81
Islanders 67 25 33   9 59 72
Florida 65 24 33   7 55 69
Buffalo 65 19 37   8 46 58

 

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.

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