With only 20 games left to play I thought it would be a good time to look at the Eastern Conference standings and figure out how many wins the Devils need to guarantee a playoff berth. With the Capitals back in the playoff picture, 9th place currently belongs to the Winnipeg Jets. However, if all seven clubs currently outside the playoffs were to win every one of their remaining games, the cream of that crop would be the Toronto Maple Leafs. With 65 points and 19 games left to play, the Leafs can finish with, at most, 103 points on the season (Winnipeg could only finish with 102 if they win their 17 remaining games).
This means that if the Devils were to finish the season with 104 points, a 15-5-0 record, then they would be guaranteed a playoff spot. This would be an amazing accomplishment and I don't think there is an expectation the Devils will finish with 15 wins in their final 20 games. Luckily this number goes down with every loss by the Maple Leafs (and Sabres, Lightning, and Jets as well).
If all of those teams finish at .500 (which is close to how they've played all season) then Toronto would finish the season with 85 points and the Devils could make the playoffs with only six wins in their remaining twenty games. The reality will be somewhere in-between six and fifteen wins which is good news for Devils fans. I fully expect the Devils to make the playoffs so long as they can win eleven of their remaining games, good enough for 96 points.
How many points do you think will be the cutoff for the Eastern conference this season? Do you think the Devils will make the cut?