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Wednesday's slate filled with playoff implications

Wednesday, 03.09.2011 / 10:32 AM / Countdown to the Playoffs

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Wednesday's slate filled with playoff implications
First place in the Southeast Division and a top three spot in the Eastern Conference is in play Wednesday night as several games will have an impact on playoff positioning.

The Washington Capitals can maintain their lead in the Southeast -- and push past idle Boston into second place in the conference -- with a victory at home against the Edmonton Oilers. If the Capitals stumble, the Tampa Bay Lightning could move into first in the Southeast and third in the East if the Lightning are able to defeat the Chicago Blackhawks.

Things are so tight at the top of the Eastern Conference that Washington could finish the evening in second place and two points behind idle Philadelphia for the top seed, or drop as far as fifth place with a regulation loss.

The Calgary Flames haven't finished a night in the same position in the Western Conference as they began the day in nearly two weeks, and they could be the big movers in the West on this night. Calgary could climb as high as fourth place if the Flames defeat the Dallas Stars and the Blackhawks do not win in Tampa.

The Flames could also fall to eighth place with a regulation loss. Dallas could also move past the Blackhawks into fourth with a win and a Chicago loss.

Los Angeles could leap two spots forward to sixth place in the West with a win against Detroit at Joe Louis Arena, but a regulation loss will knock them out of the top eight and as far down as No. 10.

Carolina can move past Buffalo into eighth place in the East with a win against Atlanta, and the Thrashers could reignite their playoff hopes with a victory. A win would leave them only five points shy of eighth place despite collecting back-to-back victories for the first time since their first two games of 2011.

Quote of the Day

Life's about opportunity and how you respond to that opportunity, and obviously he must have some swagger about him, some confidence about him, because he was solid. He made some good saves. He was 6-foot-3 on every shot, which is a good thing for a goalie. He played well. We got a win.

— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock on rookie goaltender Garret Sparks, who made 24 saves in his first NHL start, a 3-0 win vs. Oilers
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