Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Sabres' slim shot

I'm a Buffalo Sabres fan [sigh]. What are some basic scenarios for them making the playoffs besides us winning the rest of our games and the Flyers losing [last night]? The other night Kevin Sylvester went through every possible way they could win but he said everything extremely fast and seeing I'm statistically challenged and I wasn't exactly paying attention, most of it went over my head. Well, I think it went over everyone's head (I understand that most of our chances rely on other teams winning/losing which is extremely nerve racking). Sylvester said it took him two hours to work out the scenarios. Please do not spend more than three minutes on this, really.

I see your in Toronto. You must be a Leaf fan? [Shakes head]

— Danielle
Buffalo's in trouble. But it's possible.

( gives them a 3.9-per-cent chance of turning the trick. By way of comparison, Chicago still has a 7.7-per-cent chance, when most buried the Blackhawks long ago.)

The Sabres have to win their final two games of the season, tonight in Montreal and in Boston on Saturday. They have to get four points and jump up to 92; 91 leaves them tied with Philadelphia, who holds the tiebreaker with more wins unless Buffalo wins twice.

If the Sabres win both games, they're still not guaranteed to get in. They need two of Boston, Philadelphia and Washington to fall apart.

The Capitals, with more wins, would hold any tiebreak with Buffalo should they win one of their final two games.

They can beat Philadelphia in a tiebreak if the Flyers gain no more than one more point.

The only other team they can catch in a tie is Boston, and it's incredibly close. A win by the Sabres in Saturday's head-to-head game would leave the season series tied at 4-2-2 for both teams (they both win!) which means it would go to goal differential, where Buffalo would win out.

Buffalo can't catch Carolina or Ottawa. They can only catch Boston if the Bruins don't win a game, and can stay ahead of Washington and Philadelphia only if the Caps and Flyers gain no more than one point over their last two games.

They must beat two of those teams.

It's time to pack it in, folks.

To get the Sabres in:
Buffalo faces MON, BOS / must win both

two of these must happen
Boston faces OTT, BUF / must lose both
Philadelphia faces NJ, PIT / can get no more than one point
Washington faces TB, FLA / can get no more than one point

UPDATE Buffalo blogger Ebscer has more, including the scenario of a three-way tie.



At 11:33 a.m., April 03, 2008, Blogger ccr in MA said...

Very clearly explained! Thanks for making sense of the complexities. (Not that I want Buffalo in if it means the Bruins lose, since I'm a lifelong Bruins fan, but still, I admire your clarity.)

Some of the talking heads on last night's Bruins game were talking about how much they love all this close-race parity stuff. Do you? It bugs me that some teams won't qualify, when they are thisclose to teams that will.

At 11:35 a.m., April 03, 2008, Anonymous mc keeper said... you're saying there's a chance. Allrighty then, Go Sabres !

At 1:05 p.m., April 03, 2008, Blogger Ebscer said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 1:08 p.m., April 03, 2008, Blogger Ebscer said...

I expanded this out to consider three way ties (we need all the help we can get). Short version is that the Sabres come out ahead of Boston and Philly.

At 1:14 p.m., April 03, 2008, Anonymous steve d said...

More playoff speculation

For Ottawa to make the playoffs without getting any more points (I have conceded losses in the next two games already):

washington cannot win a game (but can get OTL in both games).
philly gets no more than one point.

Boston will automatically pass Ottawa in this situation because they will get the 2 points on friday's matchup.

I got to say that I'm glad I'm not a Buffalo fan.

At 1:28 p.m., April 03, 2008, Anonymous Ian said...

Here's another way of looking at it:

At 1:32 p.m., April 03, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are 9 games left in the East that could have an impact on the playoff picture. Each game has four possible outcomes (reg win, OT win, reg loss, OT loss). 4^9 = 262144 possible outcomes.

It's kind of fun to speculate on all of the crazy possibilities, but not really worth the effort in my opinion.

At 1:44 p.m., April 03, 2008, Blogger saskhab said...

How about Chicago?

Nashville can only get an OTL in their remaining two games (STL, CHI), Vancouver can only get 2 points (EDM, CGY), and Chicago must win both games (one vs. Nashville, one vs. Detroit).

I'm not sure how the second tiebreakers work (head to head) so I don't know what happens if all 3 tie with the same record at 89 points, so I'm setting the bar at 90 for the Blackhawks.

At 2:07 p.m., April 03, 2008, Blogger danielleia said...


I'm going out on a limb here and predicting that in a horribly cruel and ironic twist of fate, Briere will be the one who'll keep us out of the playoffs and probably in ninth place to top it off.

ccr in ma-This is not fun; bordering the playoff line is torture! Although, I love shootouts like the last Buffalo-Toronto game. Call me crazy.

At 2:34 p.m., April 03, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saskhabs, here's Chicago's picture:

They need at least 3 points: 2 wins or 1 win and 1 OTL.

In the case of CHI getting 2 wins, one will be against NSH, then NSH also needs to lose in regulation to STL, *AND* VAN needs to get less than 3 pts in their remaining games against EDM and CGY.

In the case of CHI getting 1 win and 1 OTL, that win has to be against NSH in regulation, and NSH has to lose their other game in regulation to STL, *AND* VAN needs to get less than 2 pts in their remaining games.

At 2:57 p.m., April 03, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To add to my previous post, in the first scenario if CHI beats NSH in OT, then NSH must lose in regulation to STL. If CHI beats NSH in regulation, then any NSH loss to STL puts them out (provided CHI beats DET).

At 5:34 p.m., April 03, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 5:56 p.m., April 03, 2008, Anonymous ken said...

You never answered the question about being a Leaf fan!

At 9:07 a.m., April 04, 2008, Blogger Ebscer said...

Well, that was all for nothing...


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