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Flyers, Caps chase No. 1 seed on 'Super Tuesday'

Tuesday, 04.05.2011 / 1:18 AM / Countdown to the Playoffs

By Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

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Flyers, Caps chase No. 1 seed on 'Super Tuesday'
Plenty of playoff implications on final Tuesday of NHL season
Seven NHL games will have playoff implications when the puck drops on Tuesday night.

Not only will the Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals continue their pursuit of the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, but the Dallas Stars will attempt to inch closer to the Chicago Blackhawks for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.

Also, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning will resume their chase for fourth place in the East, which will determine which team gets home-ice advantage in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Bolts are in Buffalo, while the Pens host New Jersey at Consol Energy Center (7:30 p.m., Versus).

Here's a look at how the races in each conference shape up after Monday's games:

Eastern Conference

Division leaders

Philadelphia (103 points), which dropped a 3-2 shootout decision to the New York Rangers on Sunday, returns to the ice on Tuesday night at Ottawa.

Washington (103 points) enjoyed a second day off Monday. The Caps face Toronto on Tuesday at the Air Canada Centre, then finish with two games against last-place Florida.

Boston (99 points after Monday's 5-3 loss to the Rangers), managed to leave New York City without any points Monday night despite having a 3-0 lead. But the Bruins allowed three goals in the third period and failed to gain ground on Philadelphia and Washington. Boston hosts the Islanders on Wednesday.

The next five:

Pittsburgh (100 points) was idle Monday. The Penguins face the Devils in the Steel City on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET, Versus), then end their regular season over the weekend with games against the Islanders (Friday) and Atlanta (Sunday).

Tampa Bay
(99 points) did not play Monday. Winners of five straight games, the Bolts return to action on Tuesday against Buffalo at HSBC Arena.
 
Montreal (91 points) was also off Monday. The Habs have their home finale on Tuesday as they face the Chicago Blackhawks at the Bell Centre.

New York Rangers (91 points after Monday's 5-3 win against Boston) moved up in the standings thanks to a pulsating third-period rally at Madison Square Garden. Now in a virtual tie with Montreal for sixth place, the Blueshirts can do nothing but scoreboard watch until Thursday, when Atlanta comes to town.

Buffalo (90 points) was idle Monday. The Sabres, who have a game in hand on the Rangers, host the Lightning on Tuesday night.

On the outside looking in:

Carolina (87 points) was off Monday, but fell four points behind the Rangers due to the latter's win against Boston. The Hurricanes return to action on Wednesday against Detroit at the RBC Center.

Toronto (84 points) was idle Monday, one day before it plays with its season on the line. The Leafs must find a way to beat Washington at the Air Canada Centre to remain alive in the playoff race.

Western Conference

Division leaders:

Vancouver (113 points) was off again Monday. The Canucks, who have the conference wrapped up, will visit Edmonton on Tuesday night.

San Jose (103 points after Monday's 6-1 win against Los Angeles) pummeled the Kings at HP Pavilion and moved back into second place, one point ahead of Detroit. The Sharks -- who also clinched the Pacific Division -- have three games remaining, beginning Wednesday at Anaheim.

Detroit (102 points) did not play Monday, but fell back into third due to San Jose's win against Los Angeles. The Red Wings, who have qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for 20 straight seasons, visit Carolina on Wednesday.

The next five:

Phoenix (96 points) is off until Wednesday, when the Coyotes visit Los Angeles to start a season-ending stretch of three games in four nights. With the Kings losing Monday night, the Coyotes moved ahead of L.A. into fourth place since they possess the non-shootout win tiebreaker.

Los Angeles (96 points after Monday's 6-1 loss at San Jose) failed to earn any points in the standings Monday night in a lopsided loss to the Sharks. The Kings will face Phoenix at the Staples Center on Wednesday in a game that will go a long way in determining the No. 4 seed.

Nashville (95 points) did not play Monday. The Predators have perhaps the most favorable schedule of any playoff contender -- two of their last three games are at home, and all three opponents are non-playoff teams. Nashville hosts Atlanta on Tuesday night.

Anaheim (93 points) enjoyed the first of two nights off on Monday. The Ducks will look to rebound from Sunday's loss to Dallas on Wednesday night, when they'll host San Jose.

Chicago (92 points) was also off Monday. Just one point ahead of No. 9 Calgary, the Blackhawks will visit Montreal -- where they haven't won since Oct. 27, 1999 -- on Tuesday night.

On the outside looking in:

Calgary (91 points) was idle Monday. The Flames have only two games remaining, beginning with Wednesday's match against Edmonton at Scotiabank Saddledome.

Dallas (89 points) was also off Monday.  The Stars still have four games left, as they host Columbus on Tuesday.

Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL

Quote of the Day

It's always a little bit weird, but it moves on. They've got a good team, and they played well tonight. I think that's just part of it.

— Peter Laviolette on facing his former team (Flyers) for the first time since his departure