Saturday, April 10, 2010

This, That, or the Other: Potential Playoff Matchups

I've been theorizing, as I often do, ever since last night's game ended. The Wings reached 100 points for the 10th consecutive season, a feat though highly unlikely mere months ago, and are set to brace themselves for a long Playoff run. But one question still remains: Who will Detroit see in the 1st Round? Unfortunately, we may have to wait till the last few games of the season play themselves out to know for sure. Even our game on Sunday, when the Red Wings travel to Chicago to end their regular season against the Blackhawks, will have some potential implication as to who plays who. So through all these numbers, let's take a look at how things could possibly shape up:

As it Stands: Above
- Currently, Detroit is holding on to a slim grasp of 5th seed in the Western Conference. With a six point deficit behind the Coyotes, Detroit cannot go any higher than 5th.
- Because of the Division leaders, we know Phoenix is not going to be moving, so they're stuck at 4th.
- The 3rd seed, Vancouver, has no chance to catch 1st or 2nd, so 3rd is the home of the Canucks for this postseason.
- The 1st and 2nd seeds however (San Jose and Chicago) are tied for points at 111. The tie-breaker would go to Chicago as both teams have only one game remaining and the Blackhawks are holding two extra wins over the Sharks' heads

As it Stands: Below
- Again, remember that Detroit currently sits as high as they ever will: 5th seed.
- With Detroit's win over Columbus to bring them to 100 points, the 8th seeded Avalanche can now no longer catch the Red Wings. They are no longer a threat to the Wings.
- 7th seeded Nashville has a game left with 98 points and will play St. Louis. Nashville is leading that season series 4-1.
- The 6th seed, Los Angeles, also sits at 98 points, but hold a game in hand over the Wings as they play Edmonton today and Colorado tomorrow.

So what does it all mean? Well, that's what you came to the Geek for, obviously!! From here, I'll break down the scenarios per each potential team Detroit might play and how they get to that point.

Detroit @ Phoenix if:
- Detroit wins their last game, LA gets 3 points or less by season's end.
- Detroit loses in OT, LA gets 2 or less points by season's end.
- Detroit loses in Reg., LA and NSH both get no more than 1 point by season's end.

Detroit @ Vancouver if:
- Detroit loses in OT, LA gets 3 or more points by season's end.
- Detroit loses in Reg., LA gets 2 or more points, NSH gets 1 or less by season's end.
- Detroit loses in Reg., NSH gets 2 points, LA gets 1 or less by season's end.

Detroit @ San Jose if:
- Detroit loses in Reg., both NSH and LA get at least 2 points by season's end.

Detroit @Chicago if:
- Both teams make at least round 2, because they're not meeting in the first round as it stands. Because of the fact that Detroit plays Chicago in the last game for both teams, Detroit will have too many points to be knocked to 7th if San Jose overtakes the Blackhawks for 1st. Detroit already knows they can't fall to 8th, so even if they lose and get nothing against Chicago, they can't be pushed to the bottom seed. That combined with the aforementioned tie-breaker going to the Hawks if both Chicago and San Jose lose their last games, and we've got a guaranteed pass on the Blackhawks for Round 1.

So that's pretty much it. If you have a favorite team to face in Round 1 (if you can call it that), here's a guide as to how the Wings would get there. Pretty sure my math is solid here, but lemme know if I've missed something.

Till tomorrow, Wingnuts!! Let's Go Red Wings!!!