If the Canadiens find it important to finish in sixth place in the Eastern Conference they’re probably going to have to beat the Maple Leafs in Toronto Saturday night in Toronto in their final game of the season. 

The Buffalo Sabres moved into a points tie with the Canadiens by beating the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 Friday night .  The win guaranteed the Sabres of a playoff berth with only a game in Columbus Saturday remaining in their season.    If the teams wind up tied the Canadiens would take sixth place because they have fewer shootout wins.   The Sabres are 28-11-6 since December 28th and 15-4-4 since team ownership changed hands.  Philadelphia meanwhile is 7-8-7 their last twenty-two games.

The Flyers loss combined with Pittsburgh’s 4-3 win at Long Island leaves the two teams tied at 104 points.  Like the Canadiens, Philadelphia has the shootout tie breaker if necessary.   If the Flyers lose against the Islanders Saturday and the Penguins win in Atlanta Sunday, Philadelphia would fall to fourth place and the Penguins would replace them as second seed in the conference. 

At the bottom end, the Carolina Hurricanes  moved into 8th place tie with the Rangers following  a 6-1 win in Atlanta.  Carolina needs a home win Saturday over Tampa Bay or a regulation loss by the New York Rangers to make the playoffs.  If they remain tied, Carolina has the tiebreaker.   The Hurricanes are 8-1-1 their last ten games.

Tampa bay beat  Florida 4-2 in the other meaningful game.  They will finish the season in fifth place. 


The Eastern Standings following games Friday April 8th

                              GP      Pts.                     Next Games

1st –Washington     81    107**  –          @FLA Saturday

2nd -Philadelphia    81    104*              vs.NYI Saturday

3rd – Boston              80    101**              vs.OTT Saturday; @NJD Sunday

4th – Pittsburgh       81     104                 @ATL Sunday

5th – Tampa Bay      81      101                  @CAR Saturday

6th –  Canadiens   81      94                  @ TOR Saturday

7th –   Buffalo             81      94                   @CBJ Saturday

8th – Carolina           81      91                    vs. TBY Saturday

9th  – NY Rangers     81      91                   vs. NJD Saturday

Eliminated – Toronto, Atlanta, New Jersey, NY Islanders, Ottawa and Florida.