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Daily Primer March 31: Ducks chase top seed

Monday, 03.31.2014 / 3:00 AM NHL.com

The Anaheim Ducks will look to build on their one-point lead atop the Pacific Division on Monday night, but they also have a chance to gain ground in the race for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.

Anaheim (48-18-8) can extend its lead in the Pacific to three points on the idle San Jose Sharks when they face the Winnipeg Jets at Honda Center (10 p.m. ET, TSN-JETS, KDOC). But, a victory would also move the Ducks within a point of the St. Louis Blues, who are also idle Monday. The Ducks have two games in hand on the Sharks; Anaheim and St. Louis have each played 74 games.

Here's a closer look at the action Monday:

Carolina Hurricanes at Ottawa Senators (7:30 p.m. ET, FS-CR, SNET-E, SNET-OTT, TVA)

Florida Panthers at New Jersey Devils (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, RDS2)

Winnipeg Jets at Anaheim Ducks (10 p.m. ET, TSN-JETS, KDOC)

Minnesota Wild at Los Angeles Kings (10 p.m. ET, NBCSN)

The Stanley Cup Playoffs consist of 16 teams, eight in each conference, but it is now division-based and a wild-card system has been added.

The top three teams in each division will make up the first 12 teams in the playoffs. The remaining four spots will be filled by the next two highest-placed finishers in each conference, based on regular-season points and regardless of division. It is possible for one division to send five teams to the postseason while the other sends three.

Seeding of the wild-card teams within each divisional playoff will be determined on the basis of regular-season points. The division winner with the most points in the conference will be matched against the wild-card team with the fewest points; the division winner with the second-most points in the conference will play the wild-card team with the second-fewest points.

The teams finishing second and third in each division will play in the first round of the playoffs. There is no reseeding as the tournament moves to the second round and winners of that series advance to the conference championship series and the right to play in the Stanley Cup Final.

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