ROSEMONT, Ill. — The Manitoba Moose could become the first team to clinch an AHL playoff spot tonight.
The Moose, first overall at 45-19-0-5, face the Chicago Wolves at Allstate Arena at 7:30 pm. CT (CJOB, MTS-TV).
With a win and a loss by the fifth-place Syracuse Crunch, the gap between the teams would widen to 25 points -- and with only 12 games left for Syracuse, Manitoba would lock up a post-season spot in the North Division.
This is always a big time of year for standings worrywarts and mathematicians.
The Moose certainly aren’t worried about clinching a playoff spot but they have great interest in holding onto the top rung in their division. They’ve put themselves into a good position to do it and we’ll show you how below.
If the Moose can play just .500 hockey over their remaining 11 games — and take note that it would be below their .688 pace this season — then the teams chasing them have a tall order.
Under this scenario, the Moose (now at 95 points) would finish with 106 points, and to pass Manitoba:
- Second-place Grand Rapids (88 points), which plays nine of its final 10 games on the road, would need 19 points in the last 12 games, which translates to 9-2-1, or 8-1-3.
- Third-place Hamilton (86 points) would have to pass Grand Rapids and get 20 points from its last 11 games to reach 106.
- Fourth-place Toronto (77 points) has a maximum of 101 points with 12 games to go, so it couldn’t pass the Moose.
Also of note, the Moose have no games left against Grand Rapids, and three against Hamilton. Hamilton and Grand Rapids also have three meetings remaining.
Any standings tie-breakers are determined first by wins. The Moose hold the edge on Grand Rapids there but not on Hamilton, in case it might matter.