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Boston Bruins centre David Krejci holds back Minnesota Wild center Mikael Granlund as they chase the puck during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Monday, March 17, 2014, in Boston. (Associated Press)

Boston Bruins centre David Krejci holds back Minnesota Wild center Mikael Granlund as they chase the puck during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Monday, March 17, 2014, in Boston.

(Associated Press)

The NHL Playoff Push: 92+ points or bust Add to ...

Only three and a half weeks more to go.

After 1,230 games crammed into an Olympic schedule, the NHL’s regular season will end on Sunday, April 13, giving way to the first postseason under the league’s revamped division-heavy and wild card influenced format.

With the average team now having played 68 games, or more than 80 per cent of their season, it seems like a good time to project forward what teams will need to qualify for the playoffs.

In the East, it currently looks like the cut-off will be about 92 points, a total that has risen steadily as teams have picked up the pace this season.

In the West, it’s slightly higher at about 93 points, although there are fewer teams in the mix and a couple slumps by some of the bubble teams could shift that down one or two points.

It’s possible to get in with less but nothing will be guaranteed. Consider these the “safe” minimums for your team to reach to likely qualify and keep in mind that there will be a lot of three-point games the rest of the way as these teams play each other.

Here is what all 30 teams will need to do over the remaining games to get to those projected targets:

 

East (92 pts)

GR

W

L

OTL

1

BOSTON

14

-- qualified --

2

PITTSBURGH

15

-- qualified --

3

TAMPA BAY

14

5

8

1

4

MONTREAL

13

5

7

1

5

TORONTO

13

6

7

0

6

PHILADELPHIA

15

7

7

1

7

COLUMBUS

15

8

7

0

8

NY RANGERS

13

8

5

0

9

DETROIT

15

9

5

1

10

WASHINGTON

13

9

4

0

11

NEW JERSEY

14

10

3

1

12

OTTAWA

15

11

3

1

13

CAROLINA

14

12

1

1

14

NY ISLANDERS

13

-- eliminated --

15

FLORIDA

14

-- eliminated --

16

BUFFALO

14

-- eliminated --

      
 

West (93 pts)

GR

W

L

OTL

1

ST LOUIS

14

-- qualified --

2

ANAHEIM

14

-- qualified --

3

SAN JOSE

13

-- qualified --

4

COLORADO

14

-- qualified --

5

CHICAGO

14

0

13

1

6

LOS ANGELES

13

5

7

1

7

MINNESOTA

14

6

7

1

8

DALLAS

15

9

6

0

9

PHOENIX

13

8

5

0

10

WINNIPEG

12

11

1

0

11

VANCOUVER

11

10

0

1

12

NASHVILLE

14

12

1

1

13

CALGARY

14

-- eliminated --

14

EDMONTON

13

-- eliminated --

 

What this chart really puts in perspective is who’s still in the race and who really has no hope.

Teams like Boston, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Anaheim, San Jose, Colorado and Chicago are all just playing for playoff position at this point, while the NHL’s five weakest clubs are all out of it and sorting out lottery position.

But if the pace continues as it’s currently headed, teams like Winnipeg, Nashville and Vancouver are also basically toast in the West, and Ottawa and Carolina aren’t far from joining them in the East.

One other way to look at playoff probabilities is to take a trip to sportsclubstats.com, where they lay out pretty clearly the likelihood of every team making the postseason. That site has teams with an outside shot of making the playoffs if they finish with 90 points in each conference, which buys Ottawa, Vancouver and Winnipeg a little more room.

If the eighth place team finishes with more than that, however, it’s going to be almost impossible for them to keep up, meaning there are likely to be at least five Canadian teams out of the playoffs this season.

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