Third. How do we know that? Well, according to sportsclubstats.com, after the Mavs still had a 1% chance of finishing fifth in the conference even after they clinched. That's not right...
To the standings!
Remember the tiebreakers:
1. Most non-shootout wins
2. Head-to-Head record
3. Goals for/Goals Against Differential
Fort Wayne won tonight, moving them to 85 points. They can only be overtaken by Evansville. So, not first.
The Mavs cannot catch Evansville because, although the Mavs can win tomorrow and tie them in points, Evansville will still have one more non-shootout win. Thus, not second.
It's a battle between the Mavs and Rapid City for the third and fourth spot.
Rapid City is done playing, and they are tied with the Mavs with 82 points. The Mavs have a game in hand, and if they gain a point by going to overtime, they will finish above the Rush. If the Mavs lose, move on to the next tiebreaker.
The Mavs and Rapid City are tied in non-shootout wins. If the Mavs win in regulation or overtime, obviously they will have more points and more regulation/overtime wins. If they lose, they are still tied. Move on to the next tiebreaker.
The Mavs won the season series 4-1 record against Rapid City this season. The Mavs will finish third. Though, props to the Rush for their amazing goal differential.
This means the Mavs will either play the #2 seed Evansville IceMen or the #2 seed Fort Wayne Komets in the first round of the playoffs. Oh, and it could definitely be either of those clubs, depending on what happens Sunday. Evansville clinches first with a win and Fort Wayne loss in regulation. With a Fort Wayne OT loss, Evansville needs to win to a) have as many points as Fort Wayne AND/OR b) force a tiebreaker. That would give them both 86 points, and 37 non-shootout wins. Then, Evansville needs to do some serious goal differentiating to force the deciding tiebreaker, a 7-6 season series over the Komets.
Or Fort Wayne could win and ruin all of the fun.
By the way, the Mavs were 4-2 against the IceMen this year, and 1-1 against the Komets (what an odd, unbalanced schedule).
Go out and support the Mavs tomorrow as they battle no one for third place!