The Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens facing each other on the final day of the season has become somewhat of a tradition, with the game Saturday between the Original Six rivals marking the fifth time in six years they have finished the season against each other.
But for this matchup to be this insignificant is something that is relatively new.
The Canadiens enter the game with no chance of climbing out of the Eastern Conference cellar, but a regulation loss coupled with an Edmonton Oilers win would mean the Habs finish 29th in the League standings instead of 28th - a drop that would represent a 4.6 percent boost in Montreal's chances of landing the top pick in June's NHL Draft, from 14.2 to 18.8 per cent.
The Maple Leafs, however, could potentially jump up from 26th to 24th overall with a victory and losses of any kind by Anaheim and Minnesota. That kind of a move would drop Toronto's chances of winning the lottery from 8.1 to 4.7 percent. On the other hand, a Toronto regulation loss and a New York Islanders win would drop the Leafs to 27th overall, improving their odds in the draft lottery to 10.7 percent.
But don't tell that to Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle, who represented the opinions of both dressing rooms very well in response to a question regarding draft position.
"That's for other people to talk about, that's not for coaches," Carlyle said. "We've stated before and we'll continue to live by those statements that if we ever sold to our players that we're coming here to tank a hockey game and give up the two points, the credibility of your program has gone out the window. That's not what we're about, that's not the fabric we're made of and we don't want our players to ever think that's a possibility for us."
Here are the potential lineups for both teams Saturday night:
Matt Frattin - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel
Clarke MacArthur - Mikhail Grabovski - Matthew Lombardi
Tim Connolly - David Steckel - Joey Crabb
Jay Rosehill - Colby Armstrong - Mike Brown
Dion Phaneuf - Mike Komisarek
John-Michael Liles - Luke Schenn
Jake Gardiner - Cody Franson
Max Pacioretty - David Desharnais - Erik Cole
Rene Bourque - Tomas Plekanec - Louis Leblanc
Blake Geoffrion - Lars Eller - Michael Blunden
Aaron Palushaj - Gabriel Dumont - Brad Staubitz
Josh Gorges - P.K. Subban
Tomas Kaberle - Chris Campoli
Andrei Markov - Frederic St-Denis