What is tie-breaking procedure in NHL (regular season)?
How are standings for the teams in the NHL table decided. What is used as a secondary criterion, if the teams have the same number of points?
For example, with one match remaining for Detroit and Washington the positions of wild card teams in Eastern Conference are
| | GP | pts | diff 1 | Columbus | 82 | 93 | +15 2 | Detroit | 81 | 91 | -11 3 | Washington | 81 | 89 | -4
(GP = number of games played, pts = number of points, diff = goal difference)
I have seen in many sources that at this point the teams qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs are already decided and that Washington Capitals cannot qualify. But it is still possible that both Washington Capitals and Detroit Red Wings both finish at 91 points. (Capitals would have to win their last game, and Detroit would have to loose in regulation time.) Moreover, Washington would have better goal difference. So I wonder why they cannot qualify.