Newly crowned American Hockey League MVP Tyler Johnson scored three goals as the Syracuse Crunch routed the Norfolk Admirals 6-1 Friday night.
The Admirals (37-32-4-1), who began Friday in a two-way tie for seventh place in the AHL Eastern Conference with 79 points, finished it in a four-way tie for seventh. They have road games remaining Saturday and Sunday, after which eight East teams will make the playoffs.
Norfolk is tied with the Manchester Monarchs, Hershey Bears and Connecticut Whale. The Whale has just one game remaining, while the other three teams have two each.
Unofficially, if the Admirals win their final two games, they will qualify for the playoffs. They would pass Connecticut and the loser of Sunday's Manchester-at-Hershey contest. If the Admirals lose both games in regulation, they will miss the playoffs.
If Norfolk wins one of its last two, or loses both after regulation, the Admirals will need help with other results. If equal in points, Norfolk would lose the first tiebreaker with each of the other three teams: non-shootout wins. Norfolk has 30, Manchester 34, Connecticut 33 and Hershey 31.
Friday's box score is here:
Games involving Norfolk and Richmond were rained out, prompting 5:05 p.m. Saturday doubleheaders.
The Tides (9-6) will be starting a series at Durham (10-5), looking to pass the Bulls for first place in the International League's South Division.