After Sabres fans could take a day off on Friday from watching the scoreboard, there are three games besides the Sabres own to keep an eye as we approach the final week of the regular season in the NHL.
Islanders vs. Hurricanes
Change in Playoff Chances: Islanders win (+4.6%); Hurricanes win (-4.2%)
Season Series: Hurricanes 3-0
The Islanders enjoyed playing the role of spoiler against the New York Rangers on Thursday night as they defeated their cross town rivals by a score of 6-2. Whether the Islanders are ready to play the role of spoiler again is yet to be seen though. In the three games the Hurricanes and Islanders have played this season, the Hurricanes have outscored the Islanders 15-6. They also haven't lost in regulation to the Islanders since January 22, 2008.
More games and a tragic number chart after the jump.
Devils vs. Canadiens
Change in Playoff Chances: Devils win (+.4%); Canadiens win (-.3%)
Season Series: Devils 2-1
The New Jersey Devils are coming off of a 4-2 victory over division rival Philadelphia and are on the cusp of being eliminated from playoff contention. If the Devils squander a point or the Rangers gain a point on Sunday, they will be officially eliminated from the playoffs. The Montreal Canadiens have been on a slide of their own, losers of four of their last five games this season to put them within two points ahead of eighth place New York and five points ahead of ninth place Carolina.
Senators vs. Maple Leafs
Change in Playoff Chances: Senators win (+.2%); Maple Leafs win (-.3%)
Season Series: Senators 3-2
The Toronto Maple Leafs are in pretty much the same situation as the New Jersey Devils, but they would need help to be eliminated from playoff contention this weekend. A loss coupled with a Rangers win on Sunday would eliminate the Maple Leafs from the playoffs this season, their sixth in a row that the team has missed the postseason. They face a bitter rival in the Ottawa Senators that would like nothing more than playing the role of the spoiler.
A mention of note, if all four games tonight finish in the Sabres favor, the Sabres chances of making the playoffs will increase to 100%, but they won't officially be in unless they defeat the Hurricanes on Sunday.
Since the top five most likely finishes chart hasn't changed since yesterday, below is the tragic number chart of teams looking to make the playoffs. Teams tragic numbers decreases with a loss of points by the team or a gain in points from the 8th place team. Big thanks of Brian LeBlanc of Canes Country for putting together the chart:
|8||New York Rangers||-|