It's down to the final ten games of the 2012-13 regular season for the T-birds to determine their playoff fate. This past weekend didn't go as well as the previous one as Seattle earned just one of a possible four points (after getting 5 of 6 pts a week ago). Still, the T-birds sit in 7th place in the Western Conference standings and they are the chasee and not the chaser.
Meaning? Well, it means the teams behind them, Everett and Prince George, are trying to catch them for one of those final two playoff spots and not vice versa. The Thunderbirds don't need help to get into the playoffs, they only need help themselves. That means winning some games, picking up points whenever and where ever they can. Six of their final ten games are on home ice. Seattle needs to take advantage of that. The team has earned at least a point in nine of their last 11 home games. Keep up that pace and they'll be in the playoffs.
Seattle really missed having their leading point producer on the ice the past two games. Conner Honey was out of the line up with an upper body injury and his absence was quite noticeable. Meanwhile the team's leading goal scorer, Roberts Lipsbergs, is in a bit of a scoring funk. He did get robbed on the doorsteop twice in Vancouver Sunday but hoepfully he'll shake out of the slump down the stretch.
After this weekend's results, the T-birds are now on pace to finish the season with 58 points. Everett, currently one spot behind Seattle is on pace to finish with 57 points and Prince George, which sits in 9th place after the weekend, is on pace for a 51 point season. All three teams have ten games left. Not one of these three teams has an easier schedule then the other. The rest of the way all are primarily playing teams with winning records. Seattle's only two games left against sub .500 teams are one game against both the Silvertips and Cougars, both on home ice. Besides the Seattle game Everett has one left at Vancouver. Besides the Seattle game, PG also has one left at Vancouver.
This week Seattle hosts Edmonton on Tuesday, then travels for games Thursday in Kelowna versus the Rockets and Friday in Kennewick against the Tri-City Americans. The 'Birds are back home Saturday to host the Ams.
Everett is home for three this week, playing host to Spokane on Wednesday, Edmonton on Friday and Portland on Saturday. The 'Tips finish the weekend with a road game up in Vancouver.
Prince George has just one game this week. A Friday night home tilt against the Kamloops Blazers. The Cougars do host Tri-City twice early next week (Monday and Tuesday).
In case you're wondering, the T-birds do have a "magic number" to clinch a playoff spot. It's 14. Any combination of T-birds points earned from wins or OT/SO losses and points PG fails to earn, between now and the end of the season, equalling 14 would guarentee Seattle of at least a one game playoff for the 8th seed. For instance, if Prince George went 3-7 down the stretch, Seattle wouldn't need to earn another point to tie the Cougars for 8th. If the T-birds win three more games (or earns six more points), the Cougars would have to go 6-4 the rest of the way to force a tie for 8th. Either way, it's nail biting time!