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It’s the home stretch, and, despite the Canadiens successes of late, they are actually in a worse spot in the conference now then they were at the beginning of the streak.  In this special edition of the recap – or in reality, a preview – we’ll look at the remaining schedule for the 3 competing teams in the East, as well as the possible scenarios, tiebreaking rules, and who holds the tiebreaker to their advantage. 

First off, let’s look at the matchups each team has left:

Montreal: 18th vs New Jersey
Tampa Bay: 18th vs Washington
Atlanta: 17th at Washington, 18th at Florida

Next, here are the standings as they run, heading into Monday’s play:

Battle for 7th GP W L OT PTS GF GA HOME AWAY L-10
Montreal 81 42 30 9 93 240 243 24-12-4 18-18-5 7-3-0
Tampa Bay 81 43 32 6 92 251 256 25-13-2 18-19-4 5-4-1
Atlanta 80 41 32 7 89 276 267 24-13-4 17-19-3 6-3-1

Now, the following are the potential scenarios and standings with the various potential outcomes for each team:


IF Montreal beats New Jersey on Tuesday, or earns a single point in an OT loss or SO loss, they automatically clinch 7th place in the conference.

IF Atlanta wins both games, and both Montreal and Tampa Bay lose, Atlanta finishes 7th, Montreal 8th, Tampa Bay 9th.

IF Atlanta wins one of 2, or earns 3 points in the 2 games, and Tampa Bay loses their game, Montreal finishes 7th, Atlanta 8th, Tampa Bay 9th.

IF Atlanta earns only 1 point in the 2 games, they are automatically eliminated.

IF Tampa Bay wins their game and Montreal loses, the Lightning will finish 7th.  From there, a single point earned by Montreal or lost by Atlanta will clinch the Canadiens into 8th.

Now, let’s take a look at the official tie breaking procedure, step-by-step.

Tie Breaking Procedures
If two or more clubs are tied in points during the regular season, the standing of the clubs is determined in the following order:
1. The fewer number of games played (i.e., superior points percentage).
2. The greater number of games won.
3. The greater number of points earned in games between the tied clubs. If two clubs are tied, and have not played an equal number of home games against each other, points earned in the first game played in the city that had the extra game shall not be included. If more than two clubs are tied, the higher percentage of available points earned in games among those clubs, and not including any “odd” games, shall be used to determine the standing.
4. The greater differential between goals for and against for the entire regular season.

Currently, Tampa Bay would win the tiebreaker, as they have a greater win total now, and would have the highest should 2 teams be tied.  (If TB and Montreal are tied, TB wins the tiebreaker.  If Montreal and Atlanta are tied, Atlanta takes the tiebreaker.)

Ideally for Canadiens fans, it could all be over Monday if Washington could get by Atlanta, that would lock the Habs into a spot, which one would still be up in the air.  One thing’s for sure though, it’s gonna be a nerve-wracking 24 hours.