Wolf Pack Hanging on to Playoff Hopes

Here’s the situation…

For those of you who are not AHL playoff-scenario geeks, the Wolf Pack remain alive in the Eastern Conference playoff race, but despite a five-game winning streak and a stellar 14-5-1 record since February 22, they are down to their last thread of postseason hope.

With 73 points and five more to play, the most points the Pack can get is 83.  Albany is currently in seventh place in the conference with 83, Hershey is in eighth with 82 and Norfolk is ninth with 81.  To grab a playoff spot, the Wolf Pack need to catch Albany and surpass either Hershey or Norfolk.  The Pack cannot get by both Hershey and Norfolk, because those teams still have two games against one another.

So, regardless of what else happens, to have a chance the Wolf Pack need to win all five of their remaining games, and they need Albany to lose all of theirs in regulation.  That sounds like a tall order, but don’t forget, last year’s Whale team was firmly in control of a playoff spot with six games still left on their schedule, and went on to go 0-5-1-0, when it turned out that all they would have needed was one win out of those six to get in.Action Shot for Blog - 04-08-14 - salute

The best the Wolf Pack can do is tie Albany in the points column, and the first tiebreaker is non-shootout wins, so in addition to having to win all five of their remaining games, the Pack must win at least four of those in regulation, as the Devils already have 30 regulation/overtime victories and the Wolf Pack stand at 27.  So Ken Gernander could conceivably be faced with a situation in which he has to pull his goaltender in overtime, because a shootout win would do him no good.

Hershey also has 30 non-shootout wins, and Norfolk is tied with the  Wolf Pack at 27.  The second tiebreaker is points in the season series, and the Wolf Pack hold that over Hershey and Norfolk, but would lose out on that to Albany.

The Devils’ remaining schedule shows four home games, vs. Bridgeport, Providence, Syracuse and Springfield, and a road game at Portland.  Hershey has four on the road, at Binghamton, at Springfield and two in Norfolk, and home games vs. Binghamton and Adirondack, while Norfolk, in addition to the two home games against the Bears, visits Providence, Worcester, Portland and Binghamton.

The Wolf Pack play their last three road games of the regular year this week, visiting Worcester Wednesday and then jetting off to Newfoundland, for games on “The Rock” Saturday night and Sunday afternoon against St. John’s.  The Pack then finish with a pair on home ice next weekend, hosting first-place Springfield and last-place Bridgeport.

Jesper Fast has arguably been the Wolf Pack’s most consistent player as of late, and he earned a well-deserved callup from the Rangers Monday.  It wasn’t because of a new injury, sounds like the Rangers are searching for a winger to fill the void left by the loss of Chris Kreider, who has missed the last six games with his hand injury.  According to reports, Fast has been installed on right wing on a line with Brad Richards and Carl Hagelin, and with the Rangers playing at home both Tuesday and Thursday nights, it seems like a long shot that Fast would be available for the Wolf Pack in their visit to Worcester Wednesday.


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