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Breaking Down the Lottery

Although the Columbus Blue Jackets have played their final game of the 2010 season, there are still some important games remaining for the club.

Currently the Jackets sit six places from the bottom of the NHL standings and in sixth place in terms of the NHL draft lottery to take place on Tuesday. However, wins from the New York Islanders, Florida Panthers, and Tampa Bay Lightning could move the CBJ as high (or low) as third place in the lottery standings.

Columbus finished the season with 79 points, the Islanders, Panthers, and Lightning have 78, 76 and 76 points respectively and have each played 80 of 82 games.

Depending on what these three teams do in their final two games, there are multiple scenarios that could play out.

The best scenario for the Jackets, the one that would move them into third, would require New York to earn one point in their final two games against New Jersey and Pittsburgh and for both Florida and Tampa Bay to earn three points.

Since Florida and Tampa play each other tonight and Sunday, the only way they could each earn three more points is if both tonight’s and Sunday’s game go into overtime with each team winning one game.

If New York picks up one more point and only one of Florida and Tampa Bay gain three more points, Columbus would finish fourth from last.

Worst case scenario, New York loses both of their final two games in regulation, the Panthers and Lightning split the series with both games ending in regulation and the Blue Jackets remain in sixth place.

The 14 teams that do not qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs are all entered into the lottery with the winner becoming eligible to move up four places from where they finish in the final standings. Therefore, only teams one through five are eligible to receive the first overall pick.

The team with the worst record has a 25 percent chance of winning the lottery and retaining the first pick. Teams two through five’s chances are 18.8%, 14.2%, 10.7% and 8.1% respectively.

The percentage break down for the remaining nine teams looks like this: 6.2%, 4.7%, 3.6%, 2.7%, 2.1%, 1.5%, 1.1%, 0.8% and 0.5%.

Since only teams one through five can receive the top pick, the last place team has a 48.2 percent chance of picking first.

So although there will be no more rooting for the Jackets until next October, you can do your duty as a fan by rooting for the Islanders, Panthers and Lightning this weekend.

RO137807@ohio.edu – Twitter: @Rob_Ogden

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