The Los Angeles Kings are the only NHL team that can clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Wednesday. Here is the scenario:
The Kings would clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs if they defeat the Coyotes in any fashion.
The Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning and Montreal Canadiens are the Eastern Conference teams that have clinched a postseason spot. The St. Louis Blues, Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks, Colorado Avalanche and Chicago Blackhawks are in from the Western Conference.
IF THE PLAYOFFS STARTED TODAY ...
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.