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Eleven games to watch in final week before playoffs

Monday, 04.22.2013 / 11:58 AM / Drive to the Playoffs

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

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Eleven games to watch in final week before playoffs
Seven days remain in the regular season, and entering Monday night there are seven spots left in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. NHL.com highlights games you can't miss coming down the stretch.

Seven days remain in the 2012-13 NHL regular season, and entering Monday night there are seven spots available in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and four division titles to be won.

Of the 48 games left on the schedule, here are 11 that as of right now you shouldn't miss:

Winnipeg Jets at Buffalo Sabres

Monday, 7 p.m. ET, TSN-JETS, MSG-B

If the Jets win, they will pull within one point of the Washington Capitals for first in the Southeast Division and one point of the idle New York Rangers for eighth-place in the Eastern Conference standings. Winnipeg is 5-0-1 in its past six games, but is coming off a 5-4 shootout loss to the New York Islanders. The Jets have beaten Buffalo twice this season.

Phoenix Coyotes at Detroit Red Wings

PLAYOFF PRIMER

  • For a complete look at the current playoff matchups and breakdown of remaining games, click here.
  • video Join the Twitter conversation: #StanleyCup

Monday, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS, FS-D

The Red Wings have work to do if they want to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a 22nd straight season. Their big week starts at home against the Coyotes, who are in a tough spot but haven't yet been eliminated. The Red Wings are three points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for eighth in the Western Conference, but they are still in control of their own destiny because they have two games in hand. If Detroit wins out, it will get into the playoffs. Phoenix is five points back with four games to play.

Winnipeg Jets at Washington Capitals

Tuesday, 7 p.m. ET, TSN-JETS, CSN-DC

No matter what Winnipeg does in Buffalo, the Capitals will win the Southeast Division and clinch the third seed in the Eastern Conference if they beat the Jets in regulation on Tuesday at Verizon Center. The Jets would be eliminated from playoff contention with back-to-back regulation losses to Buffalo and Washington.

New York Rangers at Florida Panthers

Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. ET, MSG-PLUS, FS-F

2012-2013 Standings

Eastern Conference
GP
P
ROW
1
44
68
31
2
44
59
23
3
45
52
22
4
45
59
24
5
45
55
25
6
45
53
20
7
44
52
19
8
45
52
20
9
45
49
21
ROW = total number of regulation plus overtime wins. For tie-breaking purposes, wins obtained in a shootout are not counted. For full standings tiebreakers, click here.
04/22/13 12:59PM

Depending on what the Jets do Monday against the Sabres, the Rangers may clinch a playoff berth regardless of what happens in their game at BB&T Center. As stated above, if the Jets lose back-to-back games in regulation, they will be the last team eliminated in the East. The Rangers would also clinch a playoff berth if they beat Florida and Winnipeg loses in regulation to either Buffalo or Washington. Then again, the Rangers could also drop out of the top eight if they don't beat the Panthers and the Jets beat both Washington and Buffalo.

Los Angeles Kings at Minnesota Wild

Tuesday, 8 p.m. ET, PRIME, FS-N, FS-WI

Minnesota has to overcome its untimely and dreadful 4-1 loss to the Calgary Flames on Sunday. The Wild are still battling for a playoff spot with 51 points and three games left. They're already selling playoff tickets on Wild.com. The Kings are striving for home-ice advantage even though they proved last year it doesn't mean all that much. They are coming off a 4-3 overtime win over the Dallas Stars that, coupled with the San Jose Sharks' regulation loss on Sunday, gave the Kings a two-point cushion for fourth place in the Western Conference.

Dallas Stars at San Jose Sharks

Tuesday, 10 p.m. ET, NBCSN, FS-SW+, CSN-CA

The Stars are still in the hunt after picking up one point in an OT loss at Los Angeles on Sunday. They have 48 points with three games left, including one each against the Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets, the two teams they're chasing now. They are 1-2-1 in their past four games. San Jose could have its playoff spot locked up before this game. The Sharks clinch if the Red Wings lose in regulation to Phoenix. If Detroit wins or gets a point, the Sharks clinch with a win over the Stars.

Los Angeles Kings at Detroit Red Wings

Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2

2012-2013 Standings

Western Conference
GP
P
ROW
1
44
73
28
2
45
62
22
3
45
57
20
4
45
57
24
5
45
55
16
6
45
54
21
7
45
51
20
9
44
48
18
10
45
48
20
ROW = total number of regulation plus overtime wins. For tie-breaking purposes, wins obtained in a shootout are not counted. For full standings tiebreakers, click here.
04/22/13 1:00PM

This game represents another chance for the Red Wings to move closer to a playoff berth and another chance for the Kings to move closer to the fourth seed. If the Red Wings beat the Coyotes on Monday, they can move into the top eight, potentially as high as No. 7 depending on the Wild, with a win over the Kings.

Columbus Blue Jackets at Dallas Stars

Thursday, 8:30 p.m. ET, FS-O, FS-SW+

By Thursday, the Blue Jackets will know if they control their own playoff destiny or if they're going to need help. That depends on the Red Wings. Right now Columbus is three points up, but this game against Dallas will be its first since Sunday. If the Red Wings win Monday and Wednesday, the Jackets will not be in control of their playoff fate. But if Detroit stumbles once, Columbus will maintain control. The Stars need to beat the Sharks on Tuesday for this game to really matter to them.

Nashville Predators at Columbus Blue Jackets

Saturday, 7 p.m. ET, FS-TN, FS-O

It's far too early to gauge the meaning of this game, but odds are it will matter for the Blue Jackets in their pursuit of the second playoff berth in franchise history. Drumming up the calculations on how this game affects the standings is impossible now. Check back later in the week.

Detroit Red Wings at Dallas Stars

Saturday, 7 p.m. ET, NBCSN, FS-D

Like the Predators-Blue Jackets game listed above, the meaning of this one between Detroit and Dallas is still TBD. It's not out of the realm of possibility that it's a win-and-you're-in, lose-and-you're-out scenario for both teams.

Ottawa Senators at Boston Bruins

Sunday, 7 p.m. ET, NBCSN, SNET-E, TVA, NESN

This game was originally scheduled for April 15, but had to be postponed due to the Boston Marathon bombings. It's the final game of the regular season and the only game on Sunday. So, not only will it be dripping with emotion because of the surrounding circumstances, it's the only game to watch and, at least right now, it has the potential to be a first-round preview. Boston is currently second in the East and Ottawa is seventh. Both have four games remaining.

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Quote of the Day

They said, 'You're going to love the city. It's smaller than Philadelphia, but you're going to love it. You're going to love the fans. Just watching the playoffs last year, the fans seemed louder there than they did anywhere. I'm really excited about that.

— Forward Scott Hartnell on his upcoming season with the Columbus Blue Jackets