Caps' playoff lives could be determined tonight

Caps' playoff lives could be determined tonight
April 9, 2014, 12:30 pm
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Depending on what time you read this, it’s not over yet for the Capitals.

By 10:30 tonight, however, it might be.

While most players say they don’t watch other teams’ games on nights they are not playing, you better believe the Caps will be tuned in to watch tonight’s 7 p.m. showdown between the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets and Dallas Stars.

A win of any kind by Columbus would clinch a playoff berth for the Blue Jackets, who are four points ahead of the Capitals with three games to play. But even if the Blue Jackets win tonight, there is still a mathematical chance, albeit a very slim one, of the Caps making the playoffs. Strangely enough, the Blue Jackets will carry a 1-0 lead into their 60-minute contest against the Stars because the previous meeting between the two teams was postponed when Rich Peverley collapsed on the bench with the Jackets leading 1-0. 

The next determining factor would be tonight’s 8 p.m. NBC Rivalry game between the Detroit Red Wings and Penguins in Pittsburgh.

If the Red Wings lose that game in regulation, the Capitals’ playoff hearts will still be beating.

[RELATED: Has Halak played his final game for Caps?]

Why?

Because if the Caps run the table and win their remaining games against the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday, the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday, they would finish with 91 points.

The Red Wings, who have 90 points, need just one more point in their remaining three games to clinch a spot.

In other words, the Caps need to see the Blue Jackets [89 points] go no better than 0-2-1 or the Red Wings to go 0-3-0 to have a shot at getting a chance to play the Bruins or Penguins in Round One of the playoffs.

What are the chances of that happening?

According to sportsclubstats.com, the Caps’ chances of making the payoffs dropped from 2.2 percent to 2 percent following Tuesday night’s results. The Devils are also mathematically alive, although with 84 points, their chances [1.8 percent] are even more miniscule than the Caps.

Those numbers will surely change tonight.

Here are the remaining games for all four teams still alive:

Detroit Red Wings [90 points, 33 ROW, 3 games]

Tonight: at Pittsburgh

Friday: Carolina

Sunday: at St. Louis

Columbus Blue Jackets [89 points, 36 ROW, 3 games]

Tonight: at Dallas

Friday: at Tampa Bay

Saturday at Florida

Capitals [85 points, 26 ROW, 3 games]

Thursday: at Carolina

Friday: Chicago

Sunday: Tampa  Bay

New Jersey Devils [84 points, 34 ROW, 3 games]

Thursday: at Ottawa

Friday: Islanders

Sunday: Boston