The race for the Stanley Cup Playoffs is not unlike a game of musical chairs. With 13 days left in the regular season, the music is about ready to stop.
There are still 11 postseason berths available with 21 teams technically alive for those bids and only four mathematically eliminated. There are two teams that can clinch Monday on a night when all six games on the docket carry some sort of meaning for at least one of the teams involved.
Tampa Bay Lightning at Philadelphia Flyers
-- The nationally-televised game (7:30 pm. NBCSN) features one team hanging onto its playoff dreams by a fraying thread and the other trying to make a push for home-ice advantage. The Lightning are nine points back of eighth with eight games remaining, meaning they would likely have to win out to reach the postseason. The fifth-place Flyers have already clinched and are four points back of fourth-place Pittsburgh and five points back of the first-place Rangers.
Columbus Blue Jackets at Detroit Red Wings
-- Here's our first clinching scenario of the night: If the Red Wings win in any way, shape or form, they wrap up a playoff berth. Also, if the Red Wings earn a consolation point, they would clinch with regulation losses by San Jose and Los Angeles tonight. Despite their recent slump, the Red Wings can still climb to the fourth spot in the West and get home-ice in the first round.