All eyes will be on the heated race for second place in the Metropolitan Division and home-ice advantage in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Wednesday night.
The New York Rangers, who currently reside in second in the Metropolitan, will host the Philadelphia Flyers at Madison Square Garden. New York has a one-point lead on Philadelphia, but the Flyers have two games in hand.
It's one of three games on the schedule Wednesday. The night gets underway when the Minnesota Wild host the Vancouver Canucks at Xcel Energy Center. Minnesota is in possession of the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference, three points ahead of the Phoenix Coyotes. Minnesota has won three of its past 10 games, but has earned points in seven of them (3-3-4). The Canucks are seeking their third straight win; they trail the Coyotes by six points. Each team has nine games remaining.
The Anaheim Ducks continue their chase of the Pacific Division crown when they face the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. The Ducks trail the San Jose Sharks by four points for the Pacific lead but have three games in hand on San Jose.
Here's a closer look at the action Wednesday:
The Stanley Cup Playoffs consist of 16 teams, eight in each conference, but it is now division-based and a wild-card system has been added.
The top three teams in each division will make up the first 12 teams in the playoffs. The remaining four spots will be filled by the next two highest-placed finishers in each conference, based on regular-season points and regardless of division. It is possible for one division to send five teams to the postseason while the other sends three.
Seeding of the wild-card teams within each divisional playoff will be determined on the basis of regular-season points. The division winner with the most points in the conference will be matched against the wild-card team with the fewest points; the division winner with the second-most points in the conference will play the wild-card team with the second-fewest points.
The teams finishing second and third in each division will play in the first round of the playoffs. There is no reseeding as the tournament moves to the second round and winners of that series advance to the conference championship series and the right to play in the Stanley Cup Final.