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Playoff Countdown: Ducks can clinch West title

Saturday, 04.12.2014 / 6:45 PM / Drive to the Playoffs

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Playoff Countdown: Ducks can clinch West title
The Anaheim Ducks can win the West on Saturday night, but they'll have to do it against their biggest rivals.

The conclusion to 2013-14 NHL regular season is fast approaching. After game play Friday, the League is down to 19 games remaining on the schedule, with nine to be played Saturday. Yet, much remains to be decided in the frantic run to the finish line, including playoff positioning and numerous individual accomplishments and milestones. To celebrate the countdown to the end of the season Sunday and the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 16, NHL.com will provide a piece of playoff-related content each day.

The Anaheim Ducks can win the West on Saturday night, but they'll have to do it against their biggest rivals.

The Pacific Division champions come to Staples Center for their game against the Los Angeles Kings with 112 points. That's one more than the Colorado Avalanche, who end their season in Anaheim on Sunday evening, and the St. Louis Blues, who host the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday afternoon.

One point for the Ducks will be enough to clinch the top spot, meaning that Anaheim would face the Dallas Stars in the first round. The Ducks own the tiebreaker on the Avalanche and the Blues because they have more wins in regulation and overtime than either.

In the Eastern Conference, the Philadelphia Flyers can lock up third place in the Metropolitan Division by beating the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday afternoon (3 p.m. ET, NBC). The Tampa Bay Lightning will be assured of second place in the Atlantic Division and home-ice advantage against the Montreal Canadiens if the Canadiens don't beat the New York Rangers on Saturday night (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, CBC, RDS).

Here's a list of all the action on the next-to-last day of the regular season.

New York Rangers at Montreal Canadiens (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, CBC, RDS)

Toronto Maple Leafs at Ottawa Senators (7 p.m. ET, CBC)

Columbus Blue Jackets at Florida Panthers (7 p.m. ET, FS-O)

Chicago Blackhawks at Nashville Predators (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, WGN)

San Jose Sharks at Phoenix Coyotes (9 p.m. ET, CSN-CA+, KTVK)

Vancouver Canucks at Edmonton Oilers (10 p.m. ET, CBC)

Anaheim Ducks at Los Angeles Kings (10:30 p.m. ET, KDOC, PRIME)

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 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.

Quote of the Day

I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic