There wasn’t a lot of noteworthy action in the Eastern Conference tonight, but the Columbus Blue Jackets victory over the New York Islanders had a significant ripple effect.
The Blue Jackets now have a 87.2% chance of making the playoffs, per Sports Club Stats. Consequently, the game was crippling to several teams still holding onto hope that they can make the playoffs:
- That win, plus Toronto’s 4-2 loss to Winnipeg on Saturday means that even if Toronto wins its final three games, they will still miss the playoffs as long as Philadelphia goes at least 0-3-1, Detroit 1-3-0, and Columbus 1-2-1. Keep in mind that in all three scenarios, the Maple Leafs would lose the tiebreaker (wins minus shootout victories).
- Things are nearly as bleak for the Washington Capitals, who have just a 36.2% chance of making the playoffs even if they win all of their remaining four contests.
- With that in mind, the only team that has a real chance to come from behind and earn a playoff spot is New Jersey. Even then, the Devils will have a very tough time overcoming their three-point deficit against Columbus in four games.
- Columbus’ win also put some pressure on the Philadelphia Flyers in the battle for the third seed in the Metropolitan Division, but Philadelphia responded with a win over Buffalo. Columbus might also overtake Detroit for the top Wild Card spot.
Here’s the updated Eastern Conference standings: