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Drive to the Playoffs

Stanley Cup Playoff matchups set as season ends

Sunday, 04.28.2013 / 11:00 PM / Drive to the Playoffs

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

The 16 teams that will take part in this year's Stanley Cup Playoffs had been settled, but it took until late in the third period of the regular-season finale to determine all of the first-round pairings.

The Ottawa Senators defeated the Boston Bruins 4-2 on Sunday night to settle the Eastern Conference. Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored with 3:34 to go to give the Senators a 3-2 lead, and an empty-net goal assured Ottawa of the No. 7 seed, gave the Montreal Canadiens the Northeast Division title and the No. 2 seed, and pushed the Bruins to No. 4.

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Where they stand: Eastern Conference update

Saturday, 04.27.2013 / 10:12 PM / Drive to the Playoffs

With one game remaining (Ottawa at Boston on Sunday night), only one of the four Eastern Conference matchups is finalized (#3 Washington vs. #6 NY Rangers). The other three Eastern Conference matchups hinge on the outcome of the Boston-Ottawa game.

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Much remains at stake with slate of Saturday games

Saturday, 04.27.2013 / 12:37 PM / Drive to the Playoffs

NHL.com

PLAYOFF PRIMER

  • For a complete look at the current playoff matchups and breakdown of remaining games, click here.
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While the final regular-season game Sunday night between the Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators could be what determines the Northeast Division winner as well as some Eastern Conference first-round matchups, much of what fans want to know about the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs will become clear by the end of a 13-game Saturday marathon.

Let's start in the Western Conference, where the final two playoff berths will be locked up by night's end.

The Detroit Red Wings and Minnesota Wild still have the inside track -- if they both win, there's nothing the Columbus Blue Jackets can do to move up from their current position in ninth.

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Missteps leave Saturday full of intrigue

Friday, 04.26.2013 / 11:53 PM / Drive to the Playoffs

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

The New York Islanders are hoping one point is enough. The Minnesota Wild are hoping for a better performance Saturday night.

The Islanders and Wild were the two teams that had a Stanley Cup Playoffs stake during the four-game slate of games Friday night. Neither got the result it wanted.

The Islanders had to settle for one point in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Buffalo Sabres in their season finale -- but that was still better than the fate that befell the Wild, who saw their chance to clinch a playoff berth in front of their own fans disappear in a blizzard of goals by the Edmonton Oilers, who left Xcel Energy Center with a 6-1 victory.

There are 13 games on Saturday's schedule, several of which have a bearing on the last two available playoff berths in the Western Conference or the seedings for the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in both conferences. Here's a look at the playoff picture after Friday's games.

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Elliott's resurgence powered Blues back to playoffs

Thursday, 04.25.2013 / 7:15 PM / Drive to the Playoffs

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

The St. Louis Blues came into the shortened 2012-13 season with lofty expectations after flirting with winning the Presidents' Trophy in 2011-12. The ended up two points short with 109 and two wins shy of matching the franchise record of 51 wins.

Coach Ken Hitchcock was coming off a Jack Adams Trophy, along with a Jennings Trophy for goalies Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott, who were the backbones of a team that allowed a League-low 165 goals, one off the NHL record of 164 set by the 2003-04 New Jersey Devils.

But after a strong start, there was a rocky middle that left the Blues on the cusp of falling off their playoff perch. They have righted the ship in April and are firmly entrenched among the Western Conference's top eight after clinching a postseason berth Tuesday night.

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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