They're getting close to clinching a playoff berth, even first place in North Division
The ECHL doesn’t put out playoff probability charts, but it’s gotten to the point where it’s perhaps time to start considering magic numbers for the Newfoundland Growlers.
Two ECHL teams — the Florida Everblades and Cincinnati Cyclones — have already clinched playoff berths, and the Growlers could soon join them in post-season security.
Heading into its game tonight against the Adirondack Thunder in Glens Falls, N.Y., Newfoundland’s magic number is eight. That would be the number of points gained either by the Growlers or lost by their divisional rivals, the Manchester Monarchs or Brampton Beast.
Newfoundland (39-17-5) leads the North Division by 13 points over second-place Adirondack. However, the standings are so tight below the Growlers — just five points separate the Thunder and sixth-place Worcester Railers — that it is worthwhile to consider Newfoundland’s magic numbers in relation to all North Division clubs.
So here they are, in order of standing in the division, with the teams' respective records and the Growlers' magic number (in terms of points) when it comes to each team. All have either 10 or 11 regular-season games remaining:
- Adirondack (31-22-8) 10
- Maine (33-25-23) 9
- Manchester (32-25-4) 8
- Brampton (30-24-6) 8
- Worcester (28-23-9) 7
- Reading Royals (26-26-9) 1
Of course, Newfoundland can accelerate the clinching process by beating these teams in head-to-head matches. And they’ll have plenty of opportunity to do so. All 11 of the Growlers’ remaining games are against divisional opponents.
For example, if Newfoundland defeats Adirondack in regulation tonight and does so again in a Saturday rematch in Glens Falls, then the Growlers’ magic number relative to the Thunder will have quickly dropped to two. It also would put them on the verge of clinching first place overall in the division.
Newfoundland plays three games in three days this weekend, with some considerable travel involved. They take on the Maine Mariners in Portland, Me. — over 400 kilometres from Glens Falls — on Sunday afternoon.
The road trip continues in Manchester, N.H., on Wednesday and finishes up with two games in Reading, Pa., next Friday and Saturday.