Breaking down the playoff picture

Monday, 03.31.2014 / 4:00 PM / News
By Kristyn Repke  - BlueJackets.com
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Breaking down the playoff picture
With just days remaining in the NHL regular season, the Eastern Conference Stanley Cup Playoff picture is anything but settled. Only two points separate four teams who have all earned themselves a playoff berth, but which teams play each other has yet to be decided. The Columbus Blue Jackets are right in the thick of things, within striking distance of third place in the Metropolitan Division. Here at BlueJackets.com, we\'ll take a look at what those teams have done this season, and what they have to do in order to secure their playoff position.
 
With just days remaining in the NHL regular season, the Eastern Conference Stanley Cup Playoff picture is anything but settled. Only two points separate four teams who have all earned themselves a playoff berth, but which teams play each other has yet to be decided. The Columbus Blue Jackets are right in the thick of things, within striking distance of third place in the Metropolitan Division. Here at BlueJackets.com, we'll take a look at what those teams have done this season, and what they have to do in order to secure their playoff position. Be sure to check this page daily for the most recent updates regarding scores and standings.

First, let's look at the current standings for those four teams in the Eastern Conference:

Team GP record ROW points EC rank
New york rangers 80 44-31-5 40 93 5
philadelphia flyers 79 41-29-9 38 91 6
columbus blue jackets 80 42-30-7 37 91 7
detroit red wings 80 38-27-15 33 91 8


 
Now, we'll go team-by-team and look at each of these organizations' remaining schedules, and their records against the teams they'll play down the stretch.

Columbus Blue Jackets

1st wild card spot - 91 points
Overall = 42-31-7 // Home = 22-15-4 // Road = 20-16-3

date opponent opp record vs. opp
april 11 at tampa bay* 43-27-9 2-0-0
april 12 at florida 28-43-8 2-0-0



* indicates team who has clinched a playoff spot 

The Columbus Blue Jackets have a combined 4-0-0 record against the teams left on their schedule, but have a back-to-back series to close out the season. However, Tampa Bay will be playing the second of back-to-back games against the Blue Jackets as well.

New York Rangers

2nd in Metropolitan Division - 93 points
Overall = 44-31-5 // Home = 20-10-8 // Road = 14-18-8

DATE OPPONENT OPP RECORD VS. OPP
APRIL 10 VS. buffalo 21-49-9 2-0-0
APRIL 12 VS. montreal* 45-27-7 1-1-0



The Rangers currently lead in the tight race to determine who plays who in the first round. With 93 points in the standings, they sit just two points behind the struggling Tampa Bay Lightning and are just two points ahead of the Flyers, who have a game in hand on them. They'll play the worst team in the NHL, the Sabres next, and then will face off against a playoff-bound Montreal team in their season finale.

Philadelphia Flyers

3rd in Metro, 6th in East - 91 points
Overall = 41-29-9 // Home = 24-14-2 // Road = 17-15-7

date opponent opp record vs. opp
april 10 at tampa bay* 43-27-9 0-2-0
april 12 at pittsburgh* 50-24-5 3-1-0
april 13 vs. carolina 34-34-11 0-2-1



The Flyers have one of the most difficult schedules remaining of these teams (aside from the Blue Jackets) down the stretch. They have one back-to-back series remaining and will face two playoff teams. They have a combined 3-5-1 record against their remaining opponents, who have given them difficulty all season, so their final positioning in the playoff race could change drastically depending on the results of their final three games.

Detroit Red Wings

2nd wild card spot - 91 points
Overall = 38-27-15 // Home = 18-12-10 // Road = 20-15-5

date opponent opp record vs. opp
april 11 vs. carolina 34-34-11 2-0-0
april 12 at st. louis* 52-20-7 0-1-0



Detroit is one of the key teams to watch for Blue Jackets fans down the stretch, and the Jackets managed to leapfrog the Wings with last night's win. If the Blue Jackets and Red Wings tie in points, the Jackets will win the tiebreaker due to ROW. Detroit will face a tough St. Louis team in the second game of a back-to-back series to close out their season.

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