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Stanley Cup Playoff participants set

Saturday, 04.12.2014 / 12:29 AM / Expert Picks

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Stanley Cup Playoff participants set
The 16 participants in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs are set after the Dallas Stars clinched the Western Conference's final wild-card spot Friday.

The pairings haven't been determined, but the 16 participants in this year's Stanley Cup Playoffs are set.

The Dallas Stars grabbed the final available position, the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference, when they beat the St. Louis Blues 3-0 on Friday night in front of a sellout crowd at American Airlines Center.

The Stars' victory brought an end to the Phoenix Coyotes' playoff hopes. Dallas has 91 points in 81 games; the Coyotes have 87 in 80 and could match the Stars' total with home victories against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday and Dallas on Sunday. However, the Stars own the first tiebreaker because they have 36 wins in regulation and overtime; the Coyotes can't get more than 32.

Dallas will make its first postseason appearance since 2008 against the No. 1 seed in the West, either the Anaheim Ducks or Colorado Avalanche, who play Sunday at Honda Center in the season finale for each team. The Ducks play Saturday night on the road against the Los Angeles Kings.

The eight playoff teams in the Eastern Conference were set earlier this week, though only three teams are sure of where they'll finish. The Boston Bruins won the Atlantic Division and will be the top seed in the conference; the Pittsburgh Penguins cruised to the Metropolitan Division title and the second seed. The New York Rangers are assured of finishing second behind the Penguins, meaning they will start the playoffs at home against the team that finishes third in the Metropolitan.

Quote of the Day

I spent a long summer thinking about that playoff series and what could have been. [The Blackhawks] ended up being the Stanley Cup champions, so we know we lost to a very good team. It's tough to know how close we were, and it motivates us for this year.

— Nashville captain Shea Weber in an interview with the Predators website
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