The New Jersey Devils were hoping the New York Islanders could do them a favor and knock off the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday, but they had no such luck. Instead, the Devils woke up Monday morning three points behind the Blue Jackets for the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup Playoff race.
New Jersey (34-28-16) will play the first of its four remaining games Monday night when it hosts the Calgary Flames at Prudential Center. A victory would pull the Devils back within a point of the Blue Jackets, who are idle. New Jersey has won back-to-back games and has earned points in eight of its past 10 (5-2-3).
The Minnesota Wild (40-26-12) continues its pursuit of the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre. Wild goalie Ilya Bryzgalov is expected to get the start Monday; he is 5-0-3 with a 1.87 goals-against average since joining Minnesota prior to the NHL Trade Deadline.
A 4-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday prevented the Anaheim Ducks from increasing their one-point lead on the San Jose Sharks atop the Pacific Division. The Ducks (50-20-8) still have a game in hand, which will take place Monday against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena. Vancouver (35-32-11) trails the Dallas Stars for the second wild-card spot by six points with four games to play.
Here's a list of all the action Monday:
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 just 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.