New Jersey's 5-4 loss to Boston Wednesday leaves it in dire straits. The Devils trail the three-way tie for sixth by four points with only eight games left.
The only solace New Jersey can take is it will have destiny in its own hands. The Devils will meet Ottawa Friday in a crucial affair at Prudential Center. Three of New Jersey's final eight will be against the Rangers and Sens.
The Devils didn't get much help from James Reimer and the Maple Leafs on Wednesday. Toronto went to MSG and lost 3-2 in a shootout to the Rangers.
To be fair, the Devils are 0-4-4 in their last eight. Help doesn't mean much if they don't win games.
Still, with their playoff hopes fading fast, the Devils will be scoreboard watching tonight. They'll hope the team that beat them Wednesday, the Boston Bruins, will give them some aid as they host the New York Islanders.
The Devils will also be rooting for Florida, as the Panthers trek to Winnipeg to meet the Jets. New Jersey trails Winnipeg by one point for ninth place.
Crazy as it sounds, the Flyers can also help out New Jersey tonight. Philadelphia hosts Ottawa in a game both teams need. The Flyers trail the Rangers by seven. An Ottawa loss, combined with and an Islanders win, will drop the Sens to eighth place.
The Buffalo Sabres, six points behind the Rangers, Sens and Isles, will host the Montreal Canadiens tonight. Buffalo desperately needs points.
Meanwhile, Montreal trails Boston by one point for the Northeast Division lead.
Have you got all that? Good.
Meanwhile, the Jets and Washington Capials are still angling for the Southeast Division title. While Winnipeg is hosting Florida, the Capitals will be hosting the Carolina Hurricanes. The Jets trail the Caps by two points, but Winnipeg has played one more game than Washington.
Here is the full slate of games for Thursday in the Eastern Conference:
N.Y. Islanders at Boston, 7
Ottawa at Philadelphia, 7
Carolina at Washington, 7
Montreal at Buffalo, 7:30
Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay, 7:30
Florida at Winnipeg, 8