We have made it. We are now in the final week of the regular season. The races are tight. Every game and point matters. And finally, we can have a discussion about the possibilities as it relates to our beloved Blue Jackets. That's what this post will be designed to do. We are going to first answer some common questions in regards to the playoffs. Then we will look at where teams stand in relationship to the Jackets for playoff positioning. You'll be able to watch the games this week knowing what to look for.
First, let's define some important terms. First is ROW. This is Regulation Wins. This is also the first tiebreaker if teams are tied in points. Basically, it is the number of wins you have that didn't go to overtime or a shootout. When we compare teams, you will see how many ROW each of them have.
Let's now look at tiebreaking procedures. The first is ROW. If that is tied, then next is points earned against the tied team. Here is where it gets interesting. When there are an even number of games played, look at who amassed the most points. But when there is an odd number of games, there is an interesting quirk. Whichever city had more home games (or the odd game), that first game gets dropped and doesn't count toward determining this tiebreaker. I will illustrate below an example of this, because it will involve the Jackets and Carolina Hurricanes. If more than two teams are involved, the tiebreaker is % of points earned amongst those teams. If that is tied, then regular season goal differential is the tiebreaker.
Let's look at magic numbers next. That number is defined as the number of points gained by higher team, and points lost by the trailing team. It also factors in any tiebreakers, such as listed above. This will also be illustrated below. You take the max points of the trailing team (eg CBJ has 85 points and 5 games left, can get 10 more points, max of 95), then compare that to the leading team. Magic number is Max points -current points. You add 1 point if the trailing team is winning the tiebreaker.
Now that we have a general understanding of the above, we will now look team by team compared to the Blue Jackets to see what possibilities there are. It will also give you a better understanding of what to root for when it comes to scoreboard watching. Here we go.
New York Rangers (91 points) - 3 games left
They are 1 point away from clinching a playoff spot.
For Jackets to overtake them, Jackets must have a higher point total, since Rangers lead ROW 39-34. Even if CBJ tied Rangers in ROW, Rangers win season series 5 points to 4 points (one of CBJ wins was a shootout.)
The Rangers magic number to finish ahead of Columbus is 4. Any combination of Rangers points gained and Jackets points lost that equal 4 ensures Rangers will finish ahead of the Jackets.
Philadelphia Flyers (87 points) - 5 games left
Flyers currently lead row 36-34. Now if the Jackets finish tied in ROW, CBJ wins tiebreak, as they have won the season series from the Flyers. As it stands now, Flyers own tiebreak due to more ROW. This makes the Flyers magic number to finish ahead of CBJ 8 (CBJ max 95 points - 87 points Flyers have). This race could go all the way to the end.
Detroit Red Wings (88 points) - 4 games left
Jackets lead Wings in ROW 34-32. Now here will be a good example of the "odd game" season series coming into play in even of ROW tie. CBJ leads season series 2-1. CBJ/Wings had two of the games in Columbus. By tiebreaker rules, 1st game at Nationwide is dropped. This means they each have 2 points. Next tiebreaker is goal differential. CBJ is +8 and Wings are -11. CBJ wins the tiebreak with Detroit. So, Detroit magic number is 8 (CBJ max 95 - 88 Wings points +1 point for CBJ owning tiebreaker.) Starting to get this yet? :)
New Jersey Devils (84 points) - 4 games left
Jackets and Devils currently tied 34-34 in ROW. CBJ leads season series 3-1, so they would win tiebreak with them as of this moment. This does make the magic number for CBJ to finish ahead of Devils (and make playoffs for that matter) is 7. New Jersey is right now the team we need to most root against.
Toronto, Washington, Ottawa cannot catch up to the Jackets in ROW. This makes the CBJ magic number on these teams as follows: Caps 6, Leafs 5, Sens 3.
I'll just make a mention of Carolina for a moment. CBJ leads in ROW 34-33. In the event of ROW tie, the Canes actually win the season series Tiebreaker by the "odd game" rule. They have played 5 games against each other. The first game doesn't count in determining season series (which was CBJ win in Raleigh by the way). Not counting that game, series is 2-2, with Carolina getting a point for OT loss. If Canes were to be back in race, that would be an odd twist. Luckily, magic number sits at 3.
There you have it. The upcoming week is going to be intense, drama filled, but most importantly, FUN! My hope is that you got something out of this. Questions about this? Drop me a line on Twitter, @cbjtherapy.
Big shout out to @thecbjartillery. The concept of #WeAreThe5thLine is genius! We are always ready for fight. And we will always give 100% as fans to this organization. If you haven't switched your avi, show your support and be part of the 5th line!!