Well, if the playoffs started today, this would be G1 of a first-round 2-vs-7 match-up.
But frighteningly enough, the playoffs do not start today, and the Ducks’ hold on that 2-seed isn’t looking as rosy as it once was; 3 teams are now within 3 points of Anaheim.
Before we take a look at those standings, though, let’s consider what happens if two teams end up tied at the end of the season. The tie-breakers, as I understand them, are (1) wins, (2) head-to-head record, and (3) goal-differential. This is bad news for the Ducks, who lead all western playoff-bound teams with 12 OT/SO losses. Basically that means that if the Ducks are tied with anyone, the other team will have more wins (to compensate for less "loser points"). It really kind of makes the H2H moot, which is a shame because I think the Ducks would have had the edge over the Canucks, Sharks, and Stars in that department.
Any way, here's the teams nipping at our tailfeathers, and how they stack up.
Anaheim (43-19-12) has 98 points and 8 games remaining (2 home, 6 road).
DAL, @DET, @CHI, @CBJ, @STL, SJS, @DAL, @CBJ
Vancouver (45-23-6) has 96 points and 8 games remaining (4 home, 4 road).
COL, @COL, @LAK, CGY, LAK, COL, @SJS, @PHX
San Jose (46-25-4) has 96 points and 7 games remaining (5 home, 2 road).
@CAR, LAK, PHX, LAK, @ANA, CGY, VAN
Minnesota (44-24-7) has 95 points and 7 games remaining (6 home, 1 road).
LAK, CGY, CGY, @COL, EDM, EDM, STL
Dallas (44-24-5) has 93 points and 9 games remaining (4 home, 5 road).
@ANA, @PHX, PHX, @DET, @NSH, STL, @CBJ, ANA, CHI
Note that all these teams already have more wins than the Ducks.
Now should Vancouver or Minnesota catch Anaheim, that wouldn’t be that tragic—it really means dropping to the 3-seed. But if San Jose or Dallas catches us, that’s a bigger swing; bye-bye home-ice advantage.
So that’s the situation as it sits, just one side note: instead of watching this crucial game, I will be gone for the weekend to NYC (damn, I really should get packing!), so I’ll just assume that my prediction comes true this time.
Prediction: Ducks 5, Stars 2. Goals by Matthew Perry, Ronald McDonald, Cerebral Pahlsson, Dean R. Kunitz, and Rosie O'Donnell.