I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I have to crush this strange outside hope making its way in Ottawa that says the Senators can win the Northeast Division. Most fans have gotten it out of their heads, but there seems to be that optimistic minority (including an sports media personality that asked Cory Clouston about it yesterday morning -- I'm not kidding) that figures the Senators somehow could walk away with the division title. They cannot. It can not happen. I mean, it technically can happen, but it requires the Sabres to completely implode and the Senators to go on the kind of run they went on before the Olympic break. Let me break it down for you:
- The Sabres have 90 points, the Senators have 83.
- That's a 7 point difference, in case you were wondering.
- The best the Senators can do is 99 points. The Sabres could lose every one of their 10 remaining games in overtime and still finish ahead of a perfect Senators team.
- Though the Senators do face the Sabres twice (meaning if the Senators win both of those they close the gap by 4 points and prevent the Sabres from earning the points), it doesn't really matter. The Sabres have played 2 less games than the Senators, giving them 4 more possible points to make up for those two losses.
- Hockey Reference says the probability of the Sens winning the division is 0.7%. Sports Club Stats has it at 0.665%, which is pretty much the same thing.
The fact of the matter is that Ottawa is fighting to finish somewhere between 5 and 8. Thankfully, the probability of that happening is extremely high, currently at 98.7%. I realize it's not the division title, but it's far better than the 10th to 13th that almost every hockey commentator predicted Ottawa would finish in.