The Likelihood of Making the Playoffs in the East

(Hey guys, just wanted to let you know that I'm basically copying and pasting this from a fanpost by Missy from the Nucks Misconduct blog. I thought it was interesting {98% chance of playoffs if we run the table} so I figured I'd share it.For those who are interested, This leads to the original post and This leads to the Western Conference post)

As some of you are probably aware, Sports Club Stats is a fascinating website that tracks each team's likelihoods of making the playoffs, what they need to clinch spots, and what seeds they're most likely to finish in. Here's an explanation of how it works, direct from the site:

Sports Club Stats calculates each team’s odds of making the playoffs, how each upcoming game will impact those odds, and how well they have to finish out to have a shot. It knows the season schedule and scores for past games. Each night it grabs any new scores from the internet and simulates the rest of the season by randomly picking scores for each remaining game. The weighted method takes the opponents record and home field advantage into account when randomly picking scores, so the better team is more likely to win. The 50/50 method gives each opponent an equal chance of winning each game. Both methods let an appropriate percent of games end in a tie or go into overtime in leagues where that matters. When it’s finished "playing" all the remaining games it applies the league’s tie breaking rules to see where everyone finished. It repeats this random playing out of the season million of times, keeping track of how many "seasons" each team finishes where. Finally it updates this page with the new results for you to read with your morning coffee.


Anyways, with most teams now sitting at 15 games left in the season, I felt it was time to show each team's chances. After the jump, I'll show each team, what they need to guarantee clinching a playoff spot, what will make them guaranteed to drop out of the playoffs entirely, and their most likely finishing position. This post is for the Eastern Conference.

In order of the current standings:

Washington Capitals

  • Already clinched playoff spot
  • Most likely finishing position: 1st in East (100%)

Pittsburgh Penguins

  • 14 games left
  • Need 3-9-2 to clinch (pretty much in now)
  • Most likely finishing position: 4th in East (55%)

Buffalo Sabres

  • 16 games left
  • Need 6-9-1 to clinch
  • Can drop out with 0-13-3
  • Most likely finishing position: 3rd in East (67%)

New Jersey Devils

  • 16 games left
  • Need 4-10-2 to clinch
  • Can drop out with 0-15-1
  • Most likely finishing position: 2nd in East (52%)

Ottawa Senators

  • 14 games left
  • Need 5-4-5 to clinch
  • Can drop out with 0-13-1
  • Most likely finishing position: 5th in East (34%)

Philadelphia Flyers

  • 16 games left
  • Need 9-5-2 to clinch
  • Can drop out with 3-13-0
  • Most likely finishing position: 5th in East (37%)

Montreal Canadiens

  • 13 games left
  • Need 8-0-5 to clinch
  • Can drop out with 1-9-3
  • Most likely finishing position: 7th or 8th in East (both spots are at 29%)

Boston Bruins

  • 16 games left
  • Need 10-4-2 to clinch
  • Can drop out with 3-12-1
  • Most likely finishing position: 7th in East (28%)

New York Rangers

  • 14 games left
  • Need 12-0-2 to clinch
  • Can drop out with 3-6-5
  • Most likely finishing position: 9th in East (26%)

Tampa Bay Lightning

  • 15 games left
  • Need 13-2-0 to clinch
  • Can drop out with 4-8-3
  • Most likely finishing position: 10th in East (22%)

Atlanta Thrashers

  • 15 games left
  • Need 13-0-2 to clinch
  • Can drop out with 6-8-1
  • Most likely finishing position: 11th in East (22%)

Florida Panthers

  • 16 games left
  • Need 14-0-2 to clinch
  • Can drop out with 6-7-3
  • Most likely finishing position: 12th in East (23%)

Carolina Hurricanes

  • 15 games left
  • Need 14-0-1 to clinch
  • Can drop out with 6-7-2
  • Most likely finishing position: 13th in East (27%)

New York Islanders

  • 15 games left
  • Need 15-0-0 to have 98.3% chance at clinching
  • Can drop out with 8-5-2
  • Most likely finishing position: 14th in East (52%)

Toronto Maple Leafs

  • 15 games left
  • Need 15-0-0 to have 44.4% chance at clinching
  • Can drop out with 11-3-1
  • Most likely finishing position: 15th in East (80%)

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