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Daily Primer April 3: Playoff preview in San Jose

Thursday, 04.03.2014 / 2:00 AM / Expert Picks

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Daily Primer April 3: Playoff preview in San Jose
The Los Angeles Kings battle the San Jose Sharks in a possible preview of a first-round Stanley Cup Playoff matchup as part of a nine-game night Thursday in the NHL.

The Edmonton Oilers nearly did the San Jose Sharks a favor Wednesday night, but they blew a 2-0 lead in the third period in a 3-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks.

Instead, the Sharks enter Thursday three points behind the Ducks instead of one in the Pacific Division race. San Jose will look to get back within a point of Anaheim when it hosts the Los Angeles Kings at SAP Center (10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2).

Should the Sharks (48-20-9) be unable to pass the Ducks in the standings, they would almost certainly face Los Angeles (45-26-6) in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Kings are 3-0-1 against the Sharks this season.

Here's a closer look at the action Thursday:

Columbus Blue Jackets at Philadelphia Flyers (7 p.m. ET, FS-O, CSN-PH)

Dallas Stars at Carolina Hurricanes (7 p.m. ET, FS-SW, FS-CR)

Boston Bruins at Toronto Maple Leafs (7:30 p.m. ET, TSN, RDS2, NESN+)

Calgary Flames at Tampa Bay Lightning (7:30 p.m. ET, SNET-W, SUN)

Minnesota Wild at Chicago Blackhawks (8 p.m. ET, TSN2, NBCSN, CSN-CH)

Buffalo Sabres at St. Louis Blues (8 p.m. ET, MSG-B, BELL TV, FS-MW)

Pittsburgh Penguins at Winnipeg Jets (8 p.m. ET, ROOT, TSN-JETS)

New York Rangers at Colorado Avalanche (9 p.m. ET, MSG, ALT)

Los Angeles Kings at San Jose Sharks (10:30 p.m. ET, TSN2, NBCSN)

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.

Quote of the Day

In respect to the organization and my teammates, it was the best move. When I look back at my career and all the different things I had to overcome, I have no regrets. It was great.

— Devils captain Bryce Salvador on retiring from the National Hockey League Wednesday