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Do or Die

March 10, 2019, 2:13 PM ET [228 Comments]
Karine Hains
Montreal Canadiens Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Canadiens never fare well when they take a trip to Southern California but if there was ever a time when they needed to put those demons to rest it was in the past week. Unfortunately, turns out that Plekanec was not the reason for the San Jose curse and that the no longer Mighty Ducks can still dominate the Habs, even from the 27th rank in the league. They did manage to at least get a win in LA but taking 2 points out of 6 has seen them fall to the 9th place in the East and the race to the playoffs promises to be tight all the way to the end of the season. For the Habs, it might even come down to the last game of the season against the Maple Leafs. As things stand, this will be a 4 team race with the Hurricanes, the Penguins, the Blue Jackets and the Habs all vying for their ticket to the Spring dance. This is how things currently stand:

The Habs have 13 games to play while all 3 of their rivals have got 14 games to go. That is nothing but a number however... I thought it would be interesting to see what each team's schedule looks like to the wire. So here's a list of every team's remaining matches along with their record against each opponent.

Canadiens - 13 games to play

Out of playoffs teams: 5 games

Detroit (3-0)
Buffalo (0-1-2)
Chicago (1-0)
Philadelphia (1-1)
Florida (2-1)

On the bubble teams: 2 games
Carolina (1-1)
Columbus (2-0)

Playoffs teams: 6 games
Islanders twice (0-0-1)
Winnipeg (1-0)
Tampa Bay (0-3)
Washington (1-0-1)
Toronto (0-1-2)

Record against those teams 12-8-6

Pittsburgh - 14 games to play

Out of playoffs teams: 6 games
Detroit 2 times (1-0)
Buffalo (0-0-2)
Philadelphia (1-1-1)
Rangers 2 times (2-0)

On the bubble teams: 3 games
Carolina 2 times (1-1)
Dallas (1-0)

Playoffs teams: 5 games

Predators 2 times (0-0)
St-Louis (1-0)
Boston (1-0-1)
Washington (2-1)

Record against those teams: 10-3-4

Columbus - 14 games to play

Out of playoffs teams: 5 games
Edmonton (0-1)
Vancouver (0-1)
Buffalo (1-1)
Rangers (2-0-1)
Ottawa (2-0)

On the bubble teams: 2 games

Montreal (0-2)
Carolina (2-1)

In the playoffs teams: 7 games
Boston 3 times (0-0)
Predators (1-0)
Calgary (0-1)
Islanders 2 times (0-2)

Record against those teams: 8-9-1

Carolina - 14 games to play

Out of playoffs teams: 4 games
Philadelphia 2 times: (2-0)
New Jersey: (1-2)
Buffalo (2-0)

On the bubble teams: 6 games
Pittsburgh 2 times (1-1)
Columbus (1-2)
Avalanche: (0-1)
Minnesota (1-0)
Montreal (1-1)

In the playoffs: 4 games
Toronto (1-1)
Capitals 2 times (0-1-1)
Tampa Bay: (0-2)

Record against those teams: 10-11-1

Looking at this, a few things are apparent:

- Carolina and Pittsburgh both have 3 games against eastern teams also fighting to get in the playoffs. Meaning they both have 3 big 4 points games while both Montreal and Columbus have 2;
- Columbus has got the most games against playoffs team with 7 while Carolina only has 4;
- Pittsburgh has got the most games against non playoffs teams with 6 while Carolina only has 4;
- The Canadiens might be done playing the Bruins for the season but it doesn't mean that they won't be an important team to watch. They'll play Columbus 3 times and Pittsburgh once. Needless to say, it they manage to win those 4 games they would be doing the Canadiens a huge favour. Get ready to cheer for Boston Habs nation! (I feel dirty already).

According to Hockey Reference, each teams' respective odds to make the playoffs are as follows:

Pittsburgh: 90.9%
Carolina: 86.4%
Columbus: 67.2%
Montreal: 48.8%

That's right, the Tricolore now has less than a 50% chance to make the playoffs according to probability pros. However, personally, when I look at each teams' respective schedule, I think Montreal might just have a better chance than Columbus. Why? Well, for starters, Columbus has got more games against playoffs teams. Also, Sergei Bobrovsky has had more than his fair share of struggles this season, he's leaving Columbus and it kind of looks like he's already gone in his mind. Finally, the Jackets have loaded up on new players at the deadline and it just doesn't look like they've clicked yet. In fact, if you look at their 4-1 win over the Pens last night, you'll notice that 3 out of 4 goals didn't involve any of the fresh reinforcements.

I may just be an optimist but I'd say: don't throw dirt on the Habs' grave just yet!
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