With the win over the Winterhawks last night, the Thunderbirds kept their chances of a US division title alive. Not likely but it’s not over until it’s over. Let’s take a look at the playoff picture.
Here is what the Western Conference looks like:
1 x *Kelowna 65GP 52W 108P
2 x *Portland 65GP 47W 99P
3 x Victoria 66GP 45W 94P
4 x Seattle 64GP 39W 84P
5 x Spokane 65GP 36W 78P
6 x Everett 64GP 32W 73P
7 x Vancouver 66GP 30W 70P
Seattle has 8 games remaining meaning 16 possible points. Seattle would need to win all 8 games and have Portland lose their 7 remaining games in regulation to get the division title. What about a tie, you ask? Well, the first tie-breaker is number of wins. So Seattle would need to win all their games to match Portland in wins. If they do tie with 100 points each, Seattle and Portland would be tied with 47 wins. Next tiebreaker is points in the series between the teams. Seattle would win this having beat Portland 7 times in the 12 games.
Third place is a little more reachable than the division title. Victoria is 10 points ahead with 6 games left to play. The maximum number of points the TBirds can get is 100. So 7 more points for Victoria or lost by Seattle and they will clinch the 3rd spot. The tiebreakers would be complicated depending on how Victoria earns their points. However, if the Royals and TBirds end the season tied in both points and wins, the TBirds would win the tiebreaker by virtue of their overtime loss on Nov 15. That would give Seattle 5 points in the series with Victoria only having 4.
On to clinching home ice in the first round of the playoffs. Spokane has 7 games left equaling 14 possible points. Seattle is 6 points up so any combination of 9 points won by the TBirds or lost by the Chiefs would clinch the 4th spot for Seattle. Again, depending on how the points are earned would determine the tiebreaker. If they end up tied in wins and points, Seattle has already won the season series vs Spokane and would take the 4th spot. By the way, it is still possible for Everett to pass Spokane and catch Seattle. A win tonight vs Everett would go a long way to keep that from happening. Any 6 points gained by the TBirds or lost by the Silvertips eliminates Everett’s chance at home ice.
If Seattle gets 4th, who would they play? The Silvertips are 5 points behind the Chiefs with a game in hand. Spokane needs 9 points to clinch no less than 5th place. The Chiefs would win the tiebreaker if they both end up tied in wins and points. Spokane needs 5 points to take Vancouver out of the running for 5th place.
So this week should clear up the picture a bit. With games tonight vs Everett, Friday @ Portland and Saturday vs Everett, the TBirds position will be closer to known going into the final week of the season. No matter what happens, should be an exciting fortnight of hockey.