The race for 8th — Sabres or Capitals?

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Though the Panthers and/or Senators could still collapse, odds are the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference will go to either Buffalo or Washington. Each team has five games left and the Sabres sit two points up on the ninth-place Capitals, though the Caps would get the nod if there’s a tie.

Here’s how it breaks down.

Buffalo’s schedule:

source:

— Two home games, but only one “easy” one (Toronto).

— The Leafs haven’t won at home since Feb. 6.

— It’s likely the Bruins and Flyers will have nothing to play for.

Washington’s schedule:

source:

— Two home games, one “easy” (Montreal), the other (Florida) more winnable than Buffalo’s game versus the Penguins.

— The Caps’ “easy” road game (Tampa Bay) is tougher than the Sabres’ “easy” road game (Toronto)

— It’s likely the Rangers and Panthers will have nothing to play for.

Buffalo’s last 10 games:

7-1-2

Washington’s last 10 games:

5-3-2

SportsClubStats.com says:

— Buffalo has a 68.1% chance of making the playoffs

— Washington has a 37.1% chance of making the playoffs

Feel free to make predictions in the comments section. I’ll take the Sabres, so it’ll probably be the Caps.