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Playoff clinching scenarios for Tuesday, April 7

Tuesday, 04.07.2015 / 1:26 PM / Expert Picks

NHL Public Relations

With five days remaining in the regular season, there are eight berths up for grabs in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

These are the clinching scenarios for games Tuesday:

* The New York Rangers would clinch the Presidents' Trophy if they defeat the New Jersey Devils in any fashion.

* The Rangers would clinch the top seed in the Eastern Conference if they get at least one point against the Devils.

Fantasy top 100 forwards: Ranks entering offseason

Tuesday, 04.07.2015 / 12:13 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Pete Jensen - Fantasy Insider

After six months of setting lineups, swinging trades and scouring the waiver wire, we're reaching the finish line of another thrilling fantasy season. Whether you've won your fantasy championship or fallen short of the ultimate goal, most would agree that 2014-15 has been defined by its surprises.

This season has proven how valuable under-the-radar forwards can be. Preseason standouts Filip Forsberg and Nikita Kucherov have been mainstays among the top 30, Rick Nash has bounced back with 40-plus goals, and Jakub Voracek has been among the League's top point-scorers all season.

Five Questions: Pierre McGuire talks playoff push

Tuesday, 04.07.2015 / 3:00 AM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer's Q&A feature called "Five Questions With …" runs every Tuesday. We talk to key figures in the game and ask them questions to gain insight into their lives, careers and the latest news.

The latest edition features NBC analyst Pierre McGuire:

Pierre McGuire used to be a coach in the NHL, but now he laughs when he says he just plays one on TV.

McGuire does it for NBC, offering his analysis from between the benches on nationally televised games. His is a unique vantage point for not only watching the game and talking about it, but hearing what goes on during the game.

He has seen all the top teams in the League up close and never hesitates to weigh in with his opinion. That's why he is the subject of the Q&A this week, the final week of the 2014-15 NHL regular season.

Fantasy All-Access: Championship week tips

Matt Sitkoff - Contributor

Every Monday, contributor Matt Sitkoff identifies waiver wire pickups, roster trends, schedule notes and a prospect to watch in fantasy hockey.

The fantasy championship week is finally here, and knowing the schedule is the most important piece to your championship. You can make a plan to drop some players who only have two games for players who play four games and bring more value to your team.

The teams that have four games this week are the Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers and Winnipeg Jets.

Playoff Countdown: Potential for wild night in West

Monday, 04.06.2015 / 11:40 AM / Expert Picks

Saturday, April 11, marks the conclusion to the 2014-15 regular season. 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 and the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 15, will provide a piece of playoff-related content each day.

Monday promises to be a wild night in the Western Conference, as two teams have the opportunity to clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the battle for the second wild card continues.

The Minnesota Wild (44-26-8) can become the fourth team from the Central Division to make the playoffs with a regulation or overtime win at home against the Winnipeg Jets (40-26-12). The Wild can also get in with a shootout win if the Los Angeles Kings lose to the Vancouver Canucks in any fashion.

The Canucks (45-29-5) will attempt to snap a two-game losing streak when they host the Kings (39-25-14). A regulation win and a Jets loss to the Wild in regulation would clinch a postseason berth for the Canucks and help solidify their second-place standing in the Pacific Division, which carries home ice for the first round.

Canucks, Kings ready for Pacific Division showdown

Monday, 04.06.2015 / 11:36 AM / Expert Picks

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- For the Vancouver Canucks, defeating the Los Angeles Kings on Monday (10 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, PRIME, SNP) would help in securing their spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The opportunity to derail the defending Stanley Cup-champion Kings attempt to get back to the postseason, avoid Los Angeles in the first round of the playoffs in the Western Conference, or make a statement if they do face the Kings in the playoffs was a bonus few wanted to discuss.

"I don't think we're thinking about that at all," forward Chris Higgins said. "You try to keep your focus small this time of year."

That focus is bouncing back from consecutive losses against the Chicago Blackhawks and Winnipeg Jets to finish a four-game road trip, avoiding their first three-game losing streak since mid-January, and taking back control of their own fate in the playoff race.

Playoff clinching scenarios for Monday, April 6

Monday, 04.06.2015 / 11:24 AM / Expert Picks

NHL Public Relations

With six days remaining in the regular season, there are eight berths up for grabs in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

These are the clinching scenarios for games Monday:

* The Minnesota Wild would clinch a playoff berth if they defeat the Winnipeg Jets in regulation or overtime OR if they defeat Winnipeg in a shootout AND the Los Angeles Kings lose to the Vancouver Canucks in any fashion.

* The Canucks would clinch a playoff berth if they defeat Los Angeles in regulation AND Winnipeg loses to Minnesota in regulation.

Defensive depth plays huge role in Wild's success

Monday, 04.06.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Myers - Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The mumps and mysterious stomach ailments seem like they happened in another season. In many ways, that's because they did.

For the Minnesota Wild, the 2014-15 season has played out in three distinct segments: the good first month, the abyss around the holiday season, and then the rally to Stanley Cup Playoff relevancy.

Along the way, the Wild defensemen have played a key role in it all.

"Mumps and injuries, there's a lot of things we've had to overcome with that group," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "Those are types of things that can really break a team, but they can also make it stronger too. And I think we've seen in that time, we've seen different players step up and take their game to another level, taking advantage of that opportunity."

Five reasons Capitals clinched playoff berth

Sunday, 04.05.2015 / 11:30 PM / Expert Picks

Evan Sporer - Staff Writer

The Metropolitan Division is not an easy place to make a living in the NHL. Between the New York Rangers, coming off a trip the Stanley Cup Final last season, the Pittsburgh Penguins, perennial contenders with two of the best forwards on the planet, and an up-and-coming New York Islanders team, the top of the division is a difficult place to be successful.

The Washington Capitals have navigated those waters and return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs after coming up short a season ago.

Washington made the playoffs for six consecutive seasons beginning in 2007. They had 90 points in 2013-14, but fell three points short of the Detroit Red Wings for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference.

But with its stars in top form, a new coach and a group of young players who continue to mature, Washington was able to put last season's disappointment behind and qualify for the playoffs.

Blues control destiny after win against Blackhawks

Sunday, 04.05.2015 / 11:28 PM / Expert Picks

Louie Korac - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- The magnitude of the St. Louis Blues' 2-1 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center on Sunday will determine a lot when the Central Division standings are finally decided by the end of the regular season next Saturday.

A Blues loss would have dropped them into third place, one point behind Chicago and the Nashville Predators with three games remaining for each of the three teams.

Instead, the Blues (49-23-7, 105 points) control their own destiny and thrust themselves into first place, one point ahead of the Predators and more importantly, three ahead of the third-place Blackhawks (48-25-6).

Whoever finishes in second and third place will be a Western Conference First Round matchup, something the division winner would rather avoid.

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Jamie improves every game and every year. I've only been with him for two years, but as a player and as a person it seems like every week he's getting stronger and better, and becoming a better leader and better captain. He wants the team to be so successful that he's making himself better as a player.

— Stars forward Tyler Seguin on teammate Jamie Benn, the '14-15 Art Ross Trophy winner
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