Who To Cheer For Tonight

A helpful guide as to what results will favour the Sens' playoff chances.

Last night's games hardly affected the Senators at all. Sports Club Stats puts the Sens at 37.6% chance to make the playoffs, while Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) on Hockey Stats puts them at 31.6%. Still lower odds than the Capitals or Bruins, but significantly better than zero.

Last night, the Rangers lost to the Blackhawks. This leaves the Rags tied with the Canadiens at 95 points, but still with two games in hand. But hey, if luck is on Ottawa's side to make the playoffs, maybe a little bit of that luck can set up the first-round matchup with the Habs that everyone seems to want.

Tonight's games that matter:

Boston Bruins at Ottawa Senators

This is the game to end all games. OK, not really, but a win for Ottawa would put the Sens within two points of the Bs with a game in hand. A loss would put the Sens behind by six, with the Bruins still holding the tie-breaker. The good news for the Sens is that Andrew Hammond will be in net, and he's been unexplainably good lately. David Krejci practised with the team though Claude Julien has said he won't play in a game until the weekend.

In terms of percentages (via Sports Club Stats) a regulation win for Ottawa pushes them up to a 50.4% chance of making the playoffs, while the Bruins drop to 58.1%. A regulation loss for Ottawa drops them to 20.5% and moves the Bruins up to 85.9%. Huge game. (Oh yeah, so cheer for the Sens. That's the point of this article.)

Washington Capitals at Minnesota Wild

Both teams are fighting for their playoff lives. Both are in good positions, but can ill-afford to drop points. A regulation win for either team bumps their odds up above 95%, a regulation loss drops them below 88%. Cheer hard for the Wild.

Detroit Red Wings at Florida Panthers

Doesn't really affect the Sens, since the Panthers are unlikely to catch them, but from a pure statistics point of view, a Panthers loss is good for the Sens. And the Red Wings are unlikely to reach the top of the standings and jeopardize that whole "Montreal wins the conference" thing. Cheer for the Red Wings, if it doesn't pain you.

Carolina Hurricanes at Montreal Canadiens

The most controversial game of the night for Sens fans. On the one hand, the Habs need to win to help them rise to the top of the East. On the other hand, cheering for the Habs is a painful experience. Purely objectively, cheer for Montreal.

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