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Drive to the Playoffs

Playoff Primer April 18: Leafs, Canucks can clinch

Thursday, 04.18.2013 / 10:57 AM / Drive to the Playoffs

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

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 Wednesday: Boston Bruins

Teams that can clinch Thursday: In the Eastern Conference, the Toronto Maple Leafs can clinch a playoff berth if they defeat the New York Islanders in regulation or overtime and the Carolina Hurricanes defeat the Winnipeg Jets in any fashion, or if they defeat the Islanders in a shootout and the Hurricanes defeat the Jets in regulation. In the Western Conference, the Vancouver Canucks can clinch a playoff berth if they defeat the Dallas Stars in any fashion.

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Playoff Primer April 17: B's can clinch; Hawks No. 1?

Wednesday, 04.17.2013 / 12:04 PM / 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.

PLAYOFF PRIMER

  • For a complete look at the current playoff matchups and breakdown of remaining games, click here.
  • video Join the Twitter conversation: #StanleyCup

Teams that clinched Tuesday: None

Teams that can clinch Wednesday: The Boston Bruins can clinch a Stanley Cup Playoff spot if they gain at least one point against the Buffalo Sabres. The Chicago Blackhawks, who have already clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, can claim the Western Conference's top seed if Columbus defeats Anaheim in any fashion on Wednesday night.

Playoff positions to be claimed: 12

Days remaining in regular-season: 11

Total games remaining in regular season: 83

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Playoff Primer April 16: Bruins, Leafs can clinch

Tuesday, 04.16.2013 / 12:30 PM / 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 Saturday, April 27. 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 Monday: None. The Boston Bruins would have had the opportunity to assure themselves of a playoff berth, but their game against the Ottawa Senators was postponed in the wake of the tragic events at the Boston Marathon.

Teams that can clinch Tuesday: In the Eastern Conference, the Bruins can clinch a spot if the Tampa Bay Lightning defeat the Winnipeg Jets in any fashion. The Toronto Maple Leafs can also clinch a playoff berth if they defeat the Washington Capitals in any fashion and the Lightning defeat the Jets in regulation.

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Playoff Primer April 15: Bruins looking to clinch

Monday, 04.15.2013 / 9:59 AM / Drive to the Playoffs

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The 2012-13 season is racing toward the finish line. In fact, the regular season ends Saturday, April 27, a mere 12 days away. 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 Sunday: None

Teams that can clinch Monday: The Boston Bruins will clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the sixth straight season if they claim at least one point against the Ottawa Senators

2012-13 PLAYOFF PICTURE

  • For a complete look at the current playoff matchups and breakdown of remaining games, click here.

Playoff positions to be claimed: 12

Days remaining in regular-season: 13

Total games remaining in regular season: 98

Monday's schedule:

Ottawa at Boston: The Ottawa Senators have responded nicely to their recent five-game skid by notching back-to-back victories against the Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils, allowing just one goal along the way. But with the New York Islanders, New York Rangers and Winnipeg Jets all within striking distance, it is imperative the Sens continue to collect points. The Boston Bruins, meanwhile, have dropped back-to-back games but still remain one point behind the Montreal Canadiens for the Northeast Division lead adn can clinch a playoff spot with a single point from this game.

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Playoff Primer April 14: Big day for Blues, Red Wings

Sunday, 04.14.2013 / 10:40 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 Saturday, April 27, a mere 13 days away. 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.

2012-13 PLAYOFF PICTURE

  • For a complete look at the current playoff matchups and breakdown of remaining games, click here.

Teams that clinched Saturday: None

Teams that can clinch Sunday: None

Playoff positions to be claimed: 12

Days remaining in regular-season: 14

Total games remaining in regular season: 101

Sunday's schedule:

Chicago at St. Louis: The Chicago Blackhawks locked up the Central Division title on Friday with a 3-2 shootout victory against the Detroit Red Wings. Their next objective is to wrap up the top seed in the Western Conference, and a road victory against the St. Louis Blues would help a lot. The Blues are back at Scottrade Center after completing a road trip with a 4-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday that kept them sixth in the Western Conference. The Blues begin a closing stretch that will see them play seven of their last eight games at home.

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Getzlaf, Fasth, depth reasons for Ducks' playoff berth

Saturday, 04.13.2013 / 12:50 PM / Drive to the Playoffs

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Anaheim Ducks earned a reputation as slow starters in recent seasons, though they weren't able to recover in 2011-12 and it cost Randy Carlyle his job and eventually a place in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the team.

This season has proven to be a welcome change of pace right from the start. Anaheim, with coach Bruce Boudreau in his first full campaign in charge, roared out in front of the Pacific Division and the Ducks have stayed their all season.

Anaheim clinched a spot in the playoffs Friday night and appears likely to secure the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. The Ducks have won only one playoff series since claiming the Stanley Cup in 2007, but here are five reasons why Anaheim is back in the postseason after a one-year hiatus:

1. Getzlaf's bounce-back season

Corey Perry did not have a season in 2011-12 similar to his MVP campaign the year before, but top center and captain Ryan Getzlaf was a bigger disappointment with a career-low 11 goals and 57 points. Getzlaf has been much better in 2012-13, racking up 13 goals and 43 points in 38 games, which is a 92-point pace over a full season.

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Playoff Primer April 13: Point clinches berth for Bruins

Saturday, 04.13.2013 / 11:01 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 Saturday, April 27, a mere 16 days away. 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 Friday night: The Anaheim Ducks became the fourth team to assure itself of a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs when the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in a shootout. That victory also wrapped up the Central Division championship for the Blackhawks, who lead the Western Conference standings and the race for the Presidents' Trophy with 66 points.

Teams that can clinch Saturday: The Boston Bruins will clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the sixth straight season if they claim at least one point against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Playoff Positions to be claimed: 12

Days remaining in regular-season: 15

Total games remaining in regular season: 112

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Balance, health, power play help Habs reach playoffs

Friday, 04.12.2013 / 3:12 PM / Drive to the Playoffs

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

A 5-1 win at the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday allowed the Montreal Canadiens to become the third team so far to punch a ticket to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

In spite of what appeared to be some very minor personnel changes coming into the season, the Canadiens have, from Day 1, been completely unrecognizable from the team that stumbled its way to a 15th-place finish in the Eastern Conference a season ago.

How did they execute this turnaround so quickly? Here are five of the reasons:

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Twelve pressing questions for season's final weeks

Friday, 04.12.2013 / 11:42 AM / Drive to the Playoffs

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Is anyone surprised that with 16 days left in the sprint known as the 2012-13 NHL regular season, there are still so many lingering questions that have no definitive answers?

The answer to that question, of course, should be no.

The hockey world is set for a frantic final two weeks of the season, and here in no particular order are the 12 most pressing questions as identified by NHL.com:

Will the Islanders lock up a playoff berth?

Arguably the biggest surprise of the second half of this season has been the dramatic turnaround of the New York Islanders.

The Islanders are 8-1-1 in their past 10 games and currently sit in seventh place in the Eastern Conference with 46 points, the same as the Ottawa Senators, who have played one fewer game. The Islanders will move into sixth place if Ottawa loses in regulation on Friday to the New Jersey Devils.

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Playoff Primer April 12: Idle Ducks can clinch berth

Friday, 04.12.2013 / 11:20 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 Saturday, April 27, a mere 15 days away. 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 night: Montreal

Teams that can clinch Friday night: In the Western Conference, the idle Anaheim Ducks can clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs if the Nashville Predators defeat the Dallas Stars in any fashion or if the Chicago Blackhawks defeat the Detroit Red Wings in any fashion. The Blackhawks can clinch the Central Division title if they defeat the Red Wings in any fashion and the Columbus Blue Jackets defeat the St. Louis Blues in any fashion, or if the Blackhawks earn a point against the Red Wings and the Blue Jackets defeat the Blues in regulation.

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Quote of the Day

It's time we got a break. People that have watched us, I'm sure they said, 'Finally, some things are going our way.' We'll take the breaks when they go our way.

— Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien after a 3-2 overtime win against the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday to snap a three-game losing streak
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