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Fourth place in West up for grabs on final Saturday

Saturday, 04.09.2011 / 9:51 AM / Countdown to the Playoffs

By Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

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Fourth place in West up for grabs on final Saturday
There is only one playoff berth on the line Saturday, but 10 of the teams in action will be jostling for seeding in the forthcoming 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference will be decided Saturday, while the final spot in the top eight of the Western Conference will have to wait until Sunday. As always NHL.com is here to give you Down the Stretch -- a daily highlight what you need to know about today's games.

Here is the installment for Saturday, April 9:


ANAHEIM DUCKS (46-30-5, 97 points) at LOS ANGELES KINGS (46-29-6, 98 points)

Where they stand: The Kings are in sixth place in the Western Conference while the Ducks are seventh.

What's at stake: Los Angeles could finish fourth with a regulation win and regulation losses by Nashville and Phoenix. Anaheim would do the same, although the Ducks don't need to win in regulation. The loser of this game will finish eighth if Chicago wins on Sunday.

How it's going: The Ducks clinched a playoff berth by beating the Kings on Friday night. Anaheim has won two in a row and 14 of 19 since a five-game losing streak in late February. Los Angeles has won four straight games at Staples Center.

PHOENIX COYOTES (43-25-13, 99 points) at SAN JOSE SHARKS (47-25-9, 103 points)

Where they stand: San Jose is second in the West while Phoenix is fifth.

What's at stake:
The Coyotes will secure a spot in the No. 4 vs. No. 5 matchup of the first round with a point and could move past Nashville for fourth if the earn more points than the Predators on Saturday. A regulation loss could drop the Coyotes to seventh. The Sharks can wrap up the No. 2 seed with a win.

How it's going: Phoenix clinched a playoff berth by beating the Sharks on Friday. The Coyotes have won nine of 13 games after losing six of seven in late February and early March. San Jose has lost games to Anaheim and Phoenix after winning four straight -- one victory against every other team in the Pacific Division.

NEW YORK ISLANDERS (30-38-13, 73 points) at PHILADELPHIA FLYERS (46-23-12, 104 points)

Where they stand:
The Flyers are second in the East while the Islanders are in 14th place.

What's at stake: Philadelphia will claim the Atlantic Division title and the No. 2 seed with a win. The Flyers can win the division with a loss, but that could open the door for Boston to move into the No. 2 spot in the East.

How it's going: The Flyers have lost five in a row and 14 of 20 since late February.

Upcoming: Philadelphia will either play Montreal or Buffalo if the Flyers win the division, or they will face Tampa Bay if they don't in the first round of the playoffs.

NASHVILLE PREDATORS (44-26-11, 99 points) at ST. LOUIS BLUES (37-33-11, 85 points)

Where they stand:
The Predators are fourth in the West while the Blues are in 11th place.

What's at stake: Nashville clinches home-ice advantage in the first round with a win, at least fifth place with an overtime/shootout loss and could finish as low as seventh with a regulation defeat.

How it's going: Nashville clinched a playoff berth by beating Columbus on Friday. The Predators are 9-1-1 since a loss to Los Angeles on March 15, including two straight wins this week.

MONTREAL CANADIENS (43-30-8, 94 points) at TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (37-33-11, 85 points)

Where they stand: Montreal is in sixth in the East. Toronto is in 10th place.

What's at stake: The Canadiens will clinch the No. 6 seed with a win, but they will also do so provided the Sabres do not collect more points than them Saturday.

How it's going: Montreal is 3-1-1 since a three-game losing streak where the Canadiens were shut out in each game.

Upcoming: The Canadiens will face either Boston, Philadelphia or Pittsburgh in the first round of the playoffs.

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (45-25-11, 101 points) at CAROLINA HURRICANES (40-30-11, 91 points)

Where they stand: Tampa Bay is in fifth in the East while Carolina is eighth.

What's at stake: Carolina will clinch a playoff berth with a win -- if the Hurricanes didn't do so earlier in the day. They will be in if the Rangers lose in regulation.

How it's going: The Hurricanes have won eight of 10, including two straight by a combined 9-1 margin.

Upcoming:
Tampa Bay is set as the No. 5 seed and will be in either Pittsburgh or Philadelphia to start the playoffs. Carolina will be in Washington if the Hurricanes get in.

NEW JERSEY DEVILS (37-38-5, 79 points) at NEW YORK RANGERS (43-33-5, 91 points)

Where they stand:
The Rangers are ninth in the East while the Devils are 12th.

What's at stake: New York must win or get the matinee to overtime to have a chance to make the playoffs. The Rangers then need Carolina to collect fewer points in its game Saturday evening.

How it's going: The Rangers lost control of their destiny with a 3-0 loss to Atlanta on Thursday. They have lose three of five.

Upcoming:
New York will be in Washington if it makes the playoffs. New Jersey will play Boston on Sunday to finish the season.

BUFFALO SABRES (42-29-10, 94 points) at COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (34-33-13, 81 points)

Where they stand:
Buffalo is seventh in the East while Columbus is 13th in the West.

What's at stake: The Sabres could move up to sixth but they need to collect more points Saturday than the Canadiens.

How it's going: Buffalo has won three in a row and has collected points in five straight contests (4-0-1).

Upcoming: The Sabres will face either Philadelphia, Pittsburgh or Boston in the first round of the playoffs.

OTTAWA SENATORS (32-39-10, 72 points) at BOSTON BRUINS (45-24-11, 101 points)

Where they stand:
Boston is third in the East while Ottawa is 13th.

What's at stake:
The Bruins need two wins this weekend and a loss from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh to move up to the No. 2 seed.

How it's going: Boston is 4-1-1 in the past six games, but the one regulation loss was a collapse against the N.Y. Rangers

Upcoming: The Bruins close the regular season at New Jersey on Sunday. They will play either Montreal or Buffalo in the first round of the playoffs.
Quote of the Day

This is a big year for us in a lot of ways. You can see Garth and management really trying to find that solution to get us into the playoffs and consistently have that. The pressure is great. You have to enjoy it. It just means there's a great opportunity ahead of you.

— Islanders captain John Tavares