Mar 18, 2014; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens right wing Brandon Prust (8) celebrates his goal against Colorado Avalanche with teammates defensemen Andrei Markov (79) and Alexei Emelin (74) during the third period at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

After Winning Three Straight, What Do Montreal Canadiens Need To Do From Here To Make NHL Playoffs?

Mar 18, 2014; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens team celebrates after his win against Colorado Avalanche at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

The Montreal Canadiens won their third straight game last night with a win over the Colorado Avalanche, and greatly improved their playoff positioning in the process.

Things looked bleak late in the game Saturday night against the Ottawa Senators. The Habs were 1-4-0 in their last five and down 4-1 with just a few minutes to go. Of course, they accomplished one of the greatest comebacks in hockey history and won the game 5-4 in overtime.

Montreal currently sits second in the Atlantic Division with 83 points. They are two points ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning who have two games in hand. The Habs are also six points up on the Detroit Red Wings who are the top team outside the playoff picture.

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, and then sort the standings based on the predicted finish.

Of course this is not going to happen exactly, 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 Detroit could skew this a bit but not by much, and not at all if it is met with a drop in play by the Rangers 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 grab a wild card position. If Montreal plays well and finishes with the 97 points they are on pace for, they will be battling for one of three Atlantic Division seeds.

 

Atlantic Team Games Played   Wins   Losses Overtime Losses   Points Predicted Finish
Boston    69    47    17    5    99   118
Tampa Bay    68    37    24    7    81    98
Montreal    70    38    25    7    83    97

 

Metropolitan Team Games Played   Wins   Losses Overtime Losses   Points Predicted Finish
Pittsburgh    68    45    19     4    94    113
Philadelphia    68    36    25     7    79     95
Columbus    68    35    27     6    76     92

 

Wildcard Team Games Played    Wins   Losses Overtime Losses   Points Predicted Finish
Toronto    70    36    26     8    80    94
NY Rangers    70    37    26     4    78    91

 

Non Playoff Team Games Played Wins Losses Overtime Losses Points Predicted Finish
Detroit 68 32 23 13 75 90
Washington 70 33 27 10 76 89
New Jersey 69 29 27 13 71 84
Ottawa 68 28 27 13 69 83
Carolina 69 30 30   9 69 82
Islanders 70 26 35   9 61 71
Florida 69 26 35   8 60 70
Buffalo 69 19 43   8 46 54

 

So, what will it take for the Habs to make the NHL Playoffs?

Well, they now have 83 points in the bank, and would need to get to 93 just to be safe. That gives the Canadiens 12 games to get 10 points to be sure of playing postseason hockey this year.

A record of 5-7-0 or 4-6-2 over the final 12 games is what it will take for the Habs to be in the postseason for the second consecutive season.

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Tags: Montreal Canadiens NHL Playoffs

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