Playoff Drive Schedule Comparison

The Blue Jackets season has, sadly, been over for quite some time. Last weekend, the Chicago Express fell one goal short in their bid for playoff hockey in their inaugural season. That leaves the Springfield Falcons as the only playoff hopeful remaining in "the family".

If the truth be told, it's a distant hope. The Falcons are four points out of the playoff picture with four games to play. Then, there's the matter of leap frogging the 9th and 10th place teams. Here's a look at the standings:

AHL EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDINGS (as of 4/5/12):

Pos. Team GP W L OTL SOL PTS GF GA
1. Norfolk Admirals (TB) 71 50 18 1 2 103 254 173
2. St. John's IceCaps (WPG) 71 41 22 5 3 90 227 199
3. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (NYI) 71 38 24 3 6 85 219 208
4. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (PIT) 71 41 23 2 5 89 222 205
5. Hershey Bears (WSH) 70 38 21 4 7 87 233 203
6. Connecticut Whale (NYR) 70 34 24 7 5 80 201 195
7. Syracuse Crunch (ANA) 71 34 27 5 5 78 229 222
8. Manchester Monarchs (LA) 71 36 31 1 3 76 191 195
9. Portland Pirates (PHX) 72 33 30 4 5 75 208 242
10. Adirondack Phantoms (PHI) 70 34 32 2 2 72 187 198
11. Springfield Falcons (CBJ) 72 33 33 3 3 72 201 221
12. Albany Devils (NJD) 71 30 30 6 5 71 179 209
13. Providence Bruins (BOS) 71 32 32 3 4 74 180 202
14. Worcester Sharks (SJ) 70 29 30 4 7 69 185 201
15. Binghamton Senators (OTT) 72 28 38 4 2 62 194 232

As of this writing, places 1-5 are locked. Connecticut and Syracuse will have to have monumental collapses in the final two weeks to miss the postseason, but hey, anything can happen. Comparisons follow the jump:

Following the games, I list a "Misery Factor". Think "degree of difficulty"...it's not a hard stat, but a blend of home/road and opponent. The higher the number, the greater the challenge. Projected points, just my opinion on what is likely to happen. So here are the remaining schedules from sixth place on down:

Connecticut - six games to go
April 6 - vs. Manchester
April 7 - at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
April 8 - at Hershey
April 11 - at Portland
April 13 - vs. Manchester
April 14 - at Syracuse
Misery Factor - 8
Probable Points - 5
Projected Total - 85 (IN)

Syracuse - five games to go
April 6 - at Bridgeport
April 7 - at Hershey
April 13 - at Rochester
April 14 - vs. Connecticut
April 15 - at Albany
Misery Factor - 6
Probable Points - 6
Projected Total - 84 (IN)

Manchester - five games to go
April 6 - at Connecticut
April 10 - at Worcester
April 13 - at Connecticut
April 14 - vs. Hershey
April 15 - vs. St. John's
Misery Factor - 6
Probable Points - 5
Projected Total - 81

Portland - four games to go
April 7 - vs. Worcester
April 11 - vs. Connecticut
April 13 - vs. Hershey
April 15 - at Providence
Misery Factor - 4
Probable Points - 6
Projected Total - 81

Adirondack - six games to go
April 6 - vs. Albany
April 7 - at Albany
April 8 - vs. Rochester
April 13 - at Springfield
April 14 - vs. Worcester
April 15 - vs. Norfolk
Misery Factor - 4
Probable Points - 7
Projected Total - 79

Springfield - four games to go
April 7 - at St. John's
April 8 - at St. John's
April 13 - vs. Adirondack
April 14 - vs. St. John's
Misery Factor - 8
Probable Points - 4
Projected Total - 76 (out)

Albany - five games to go
April 6 - at Adirondack
April 7 - vs. Adirondack
April 13 - vs. Norfolk
April 14 - vs. Providence
April 15 - vs. Syracuse
Misery Factor - 6
Probable Points - 4
Projected Total - 75 (out)

Providence - five games to go
April 6 - vs. Worcester
April 7 - at Bridgeport
April 13 - vs. Bridgeport
April 14 - at Albany
April 15 - vs. Portland
Misery Factor - 7
Probable Points - 3
Projected Total - 74 (out)

Worcester - six games to go
April 6 - at Providence
April 7 - at Portland
April 10 - vs. Manchester
April 13 - vs. St. John's
April 14 - at Adirondack
April 15 - vs. Hershey
Misery Factor - 5
Probable Points - 9
Projected Total - 78 (out)

If my hazy crystal ball is right, I'm looking at places 6 - 14 like this when all is said and done:

6. Connecticut
7. Syracuse
8. Manchester (more wins)
9. Portland
10. Adirondack
11. Worcester
12. Springfield
13. Albany
14. Providence

The good thing, is the games are played on the ice and not by throwing a bunch of stats together and making broad based assumptions. However, the reality is this: Springfield NEEDS all eight points in their final four games. Nothing less will do.

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