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Round 2
Round 3
Stanley Cup Final
(Page 2 of 4)
Drive to the Playoffs

Tavares, added depth end Islanders' playoff drought

Wednesday, 04.24.2013 / 11:00 AM / Drive to the Playoffs

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

For the first time in six years, the New York Islanders are in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The 2012-13 campaign was truly a tale of two seasons for the Islanders. It began with the delayed arrival of defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky, who first tried to block his trade from the Anaheim Ducks last summer then, after the deal was upheld, didn't play his first game with New York until Feb. 9 as he attended to his ill son in Slovakia.

After a string of bottom-five finishes, the New York Islanders are back in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. (Photo: Graig Abel/NHLI)

Visnovsky's absence, combined with subpar goaltending from the tandem of Evgeni Nabokov and Rick DiPietro, played big roles in what was a rough start for the Islanders, particularly on home ice. Some may have believed another lottery pick was in the cards after what transpired Feb. 18, when New York suffered a 7-0 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Slowly but surely, the Islanders began to solidify things in their back end. They made some tweaks to their lineup and started to demonstrate an ability to protect a third-period lead, something they'd been unable to do in seasons past. Once the calendar turned to March, the Islanders really started to turn things around and finished the month with a record of 8-5-1.

April has been one of the most dominant months the Islanders have enjoyed in years. With Tuesday's 4-3 shootout loss against the Carolina Hurricanes, the Islanders clinched a playoff berth and improved to 8-0-3 this month. They are in sixth place in the Eastern Conference.

Here's a look at five of the biggest reasons the Islanders will take part in the postseason for the first time since 2007:

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Playoff Primer April 23: Five teams can clinch berths

Tuesday, 04.23.2013 / 11:44 AM / Drive to the Playoffs

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The 2012-13 NHL season is racing toward the finish line. In fact, the regular season ends Sunday, April 28. Although the Stanley Cup Playoffs are clearly in sight, the qualification picture is far less clear. To help make sense of the numerous permutations that exist, NHL.com's Playoff Push Primer looks at some of the biggest movers and shakers among the postseason hopefuls.

Teams that clinched Monday: The Anaheim Ducks are Pacific Division champions with a 3-0 win against the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place. Meanwhile, the Vancouver Canucks once again claimed the Northwest Division crown with their 3-1 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks at Rogers Arena.

Teams that can clinch Tuesday: In the Eastern Conference, the Washington Capitals can clinch the Southeast Division and the No. 3 seed if they beat the Winnipeg Jets in either regulation or overtime. The New York Islanders can clinch a playoff berth if they defeat the Carolina Hurricanes in any fashion and the Capitals defeat the Jets in any fashion, or if they earn one point against the Hurricanes while the Capitals defeat the Jets in regulation. The New York Rangers can clinch a playoff berth if they defeat the Florida Panthers in any fashion and the Capitals defeat the Jets in regulation.

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Presidents' Trophy, division titles can be won Monday

Monday, 04.22.2013 / 12:15 PM / Drive to the Playoffs

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The 2012-13 NHL season is racing toward the finish line. In fact, the regular season ends Sunday, April 28. Although the Stanley Cup Playoffs are clearly in sight, the qualification picture is far less clear. To help make sense of the numerous permutations that exist, NHL.com's Playoff Push Primer looks at some of the biggest movers and shakers among the postseason hopefuls.

Teams that clinched Sunday: None.

Teams that can clinch Monday: The Chicago Blackhawks can clinch the Presidents' Trophy if they beat the Vancouver Canucks and the Ottawa Senators beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in regulation.

The Senators can clinch a playoff spot with a win against the Penguins and if the Buffalo Sabres defeat the Winnipeg Jets in regulation.

The Anaheim Ducks can clinch the Pacific Division with a win against the Edmonton Oilers. The Vancouver Canucks can clinch the Northwest Division if they earn at least one point against the Blackhawks.

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Eleven games to watch in final week before playoffs

Monday, 04.22.2013 / 11:58 AM / Drive to the Playoffs

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Seven days remain in the 2012-13 NHL regular season, and entering Monday night there are seven spots available in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and four division titles to be won.

Of the 48 games left on the schedule, here are 11 that as of right now you shouldn't miss:

Winnipeg Jets at Buffalo Sabres

Monday, 7 p.m. ET, TSN-JETS, MSG-B

If the Jets win, they will pull within one point of the Washington Capitals for first in the Southeast Division and one point of the idle New York Rangers for eighth-place in the Eastern Conference standings. Winnipeg is 5-0-1 in its past six games, but is coming off a 5-4 shootout loss to the New York Islanders. The Jets have beaten Buffalo twice this season.

Phoenix Coyotes at Detroit Red Wings

Monday, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS, FS-D

The Red Wings have work to do if they want to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a 22nd straight season. Their big week starts at home against the Coyotes, who are in a tough spot but haven't yet been eliminated. The Red Wings are three points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for eighth in the Western Conference, but they are still in control of their own destiny because they have two games in hand. If Detroit wins out, it will get into the playoffs. Phoenix is five points back with four games to play.

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Goalie tandem big reason Canucks are in playoffs

Sunday, 04.21.2013 / 6:41 PM / Drive to the Playoffs

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

A Presidents' Trophy three-peat was out of the question early for the Vancouver Canucks, who at their best would have been in tough to match the record-setting pace set by the Chicago Blackhawks.

And the Canucks were far from their best in this abbreviated season, falling short of the high standards set while topping the regular-season standings in each of the past two seasons as they dealt with long-term injuries to key players like center Ryan Kesler.

Vancouver overcame a pair of prolonged absences for the oft-injured Kesler and fellow top-six forward David Booth, hanging on at times, thriving at others, until finally clinching a playoff spot with a 2-1 shootout win against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday. With a six-point cushion on the Minnesota Wild, a fifth-straight Northwest Division title soon should follow.

Here are five reasons the Canucks are headed back to the postseason:

1. Schneider's first season as a No.1 -- Cory Schneider didn't even make it through his first game as the new No. 1, pulled after giving up five goals on 14 shots in 22 minutes of a lopsided season-opening loss to the Anaheim Ducks.

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Defense, play at home helped get Kings to playoffs

Sunday, 04.21.2013 / 6:12 PM / Drive to the Playoffs

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

The lockout was supposed to help the Los Angeles Kings. The extra rest was supposed to reset them mentally and physically. That was the thinking, at least.

Jonathan Quick did use the time to recover from back surgery. But most of the above theory went out the window when the Kings' defense got banged up and Quick struggled to adjust to the new personnel in front of him.

As the season progressed, however, not only did the Kings manage those issues, they added two players on their blue line in Matt Greene and Robyn Regehr and now look more like the defending Stanley Cup champion that no one wants any part of in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

It wasn't easy or pretty, but here's how the Kings put themselves in position to become the first repeat champions since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997-98.

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Playoff Primer April 21: With help, Ducks eye Pacific

Sunday, 04.21.2013 / 12:33 PM / Drive to the Playoffs

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The 2012-13 NHL season is racing toward the finish line. In fact, the regular season ends Sunday, April 28. Although the Stanley Cup Playoffs are clearly in sight, the qualification picture is far less clear. To help make sense of the numerous permutations that exist, NHL.com's Playoff Push Primer looks at some of the biggest movers and shakers among the postseason hopefuls.

Teams that clinched Saturday: Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, Los Angeles Kings

Teams that can clinch Sunday: The Anaheim Ducks can clinch the Pacific Division title if they beat the Edmonton Oilers in any fashion, the Dallas Stars defeat the Los Angeles Kings in regulation and the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the San Jose Sharks in any fashion.

The Sharks can clinch a playoff spot if they earn at least one point against the Blue Jackets.

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Goaltending, accountability put Maple Leafs in

Sunday, 04.21.2013 / 11:26 AM / Drive to the Playoffs

Mike Brophy - NHL.com Correspondent

There were a number of people who expressed concern that the marriage between Randy Carlyle and the Toronto Maple Leafs would be a disaster.

Carlyle, who guided the Anaheim Ducks to the Stanley Cup in 2006-07, came to town with a reputation for being a heavy-handed coach who demanded his team play a physical game. Did the Leafs have the personnel to play that kind of a game? How could it possibly work?

Well, it has worked thanks to some creative tweaks to the roster. Now, for the first time since the 2003-04 season, Toronto is headed to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Here are five reasons why the Maple Leafs are going to the postseason:

1. Goaltending

If the Maple Leafs had solid goaltending last season, there is a good chance they would have made the playoffs and Ron Wilson still would be coaching the team. It didn't work out that way, though.

Coming of a season when he burst onto the NHL with great results, going 20-10-5, James Reimer was expected to carry the bulk of the load and got off to a wonderful start, going 4-0-1 before suffering a neck/concussion injury that plagued him the rest of the season. Rookie Ben Scrivens proved he belonged in the NHL but was not quite ready for prime time. Thus, the Maple Leafs fell short once again in their attempt to get to the playoffs.

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Playoff Primer April 20: Three teams can clinch

Saturday, 04.20.2013 / 12:45 PM / Drive to the Playoffs

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

The 2012-13 NHL season is racing toward the finish line. In fact, the regular season ends Sunday, April 28. Although the Stanley Cup Playoffs are clearly in sight, the qualification picture is far less clear. To help make sense of the numerous permutations that exist, NHL.com's Playoff Push Primer looks at some of the biggest movers and shakers among the postseason hopefuls.

Teams that clinched Friday: None.

PLAYOFF PRIMER

  • For a complete look at the current playoff matchups and breakdown of remaining games, click here.
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Teams that can clinch Saturday: The Pittsburgh Penguins have already clinched a playoff berth and the Atlantic Division title. Saturday afternoon, Pittsburgh can clinch the top seed in the Eastern Conference by taking one point from the game against the Boston Bruins on Saturday. The Toronto Maple Leafs can clinch a playoff berth if they defeat Ottawa in regulation or overtime and the New York Islanders defeat Winnipeg in any fashion. The Maple Leafs can also clinch if they defeat Ottawa in a shootout and the Islanders defeat the Jets in regulation.

In the Western Conference, the Vancouver Canucks can clinch a playoff berth if they take at least one point from their game against the Detroit Red Wings. The Los Angeles Kings, who are idle, will clinch a playoff berth if Vancouver beats Detroit in any fashion.

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Playoff Primer April 19: Stars shoot for eighth in West

Friday, 04.19.2013 / 11:38 AM / Drive to the Playoffs

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

The 2012-13 season is racing toward the finish line. In fact, the regular season ends Sunday, April 28. Although the finish line is clearly in sight, the Stanley Cup Playoffs qualification picture is far less clear. To help make sense of the numerous permutations that exist for the playoffs, NHL.com's Playoff Push Primer looks at some of the biggest movers and shakers among the postseason hopefuls.

Teams that clinched Thursday: None. The Vancouver Canucks could have clinched a spot with a victory, but lost 5-1 to the Dallas Stars.

Teams that can clinch Friday: None.

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I was in there icing my face as she was trying to push a baby out.

— Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf on going to the hospital with a facial laceration while his wife was in labor following Game 1 on Wednesday