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Idle Bruins, Hawks can earn playoff spots tonight

Friday, 03.30.2012 / 10:10 AM / Drive to the Playoffs

By Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

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Idle Bruins, Hawks can earn playoff spots tonight
Nine playoff spots remain available overall, but the Bruins and Blackhawks can clinch spots Friday if a few things go their way.
Two teams can join the playoff party Friday without touching a puck.

With 94 percent of the season played -- 1,160 of 1,230 games -- nine playoff spots, five division titles, both conference titles and the Presidents' Trophy remain up for grabs.

But with nine days left in the regular season, two of those remaining playoff spots can be claimed by the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks -- if a few things go their way.

The Bruins will have a chance to defend their Stanley Cup title if the Buffalo Sabres lose in regulation to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Boston had a chance to clinch Thursday, but their shootout loss to Washington delayed their opportunity to join the Rangers, Penguins and Flyers in the Eastern Conference playoff mix.

The Blackhawks will be watching the Kings-Oilers game in Edmonton, as any loss by the Kings would put the Hawks into the playoffs for the fourth straight season.

They missed on their first chance to clinch Thursday, but if they get in Friday, they would join the Blues, Canucks, Red Wings and Predators in the Western Conference playoff party.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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