Sports

Amid Red Wings fight for the playoffs, here's how the NHL playoff tie-breakers work

Posted at 9:48 AM, Apr 09, 2024

The Detroit Red Wings are continuing to fight for a playoff spot with several other teams in the Eastern Conference with just a few games remaining.

As of Wednesday, April 10, the Red Wings out of the playoffs after a loss to the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night.

With four games remaining, Detroit has 84 points and sits in fourth in the wild card race, behind the Capitals (85 points) and Pittsburgh Penguins (84 points). The Penguins have more regulation wins, which puts them ahead of Detroit.

Other teams fighting for a playoff spot include the Philadelphia Flyers, and the New York Islanders.

Detroit finishes out the season with game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, on Thursday Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday and back-to-back games against the Montreal Canadiens on Monday and Tuesday.

There's a chance that the second wild card spot could come down to a tie-breaker. If that happens, there are several tie-breaking procedures. The first is the fewer number of games played, but by the end of the season, that won't matter with all teams having played 82 games.

Next is the most games won in regulation, excluding games win over overtime or by shootout. That is represented in the NHL standings by the "RW" column.

The third tiebreaker is the most games won in regulation or overtime, excluding shootout, represented by "ROW" in the standings.

Then, it's the most games won by the club in any manner, total wins, represented by "W."

If all of those are tied, there are three other tiebreakers. They are:

  1. Greater number of points earned in games
    1. "For the purpose of determining standing for two or more Clubs that have not played an even number of games with one or more of the other tied Clubs, the first game played in the city that has the extra game (the 'odd game') shall not be included."
    2. "When more than two Clubs are tied, the percentage of available points earned in games among each other (and not including any 'odd games') shall be used to determine standing."
  2. Greater differential between goals for and against, including OT goals or goals awarded for shootout wings, for the regular season, represented by "DIFF" in the standings.
  3. Greater number of goals goals for and against, including OT goals or goals awarded for shootout wings, for the regular season, represented by "GF" in the standings.