The conclusion to 2013-14 NHL regular season is fast approaching. After game play Friday, the League is down to 19 games remaining on the schedule, with nine to be played Saturday. 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 Sunday and the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 16, NHL.com will provide a piece of playoff-related content each day.
The Anaheim Ducks can win the West on Saturday night, but they'll have to do it against their biggest rivals.
The Pacific Division champions come to Staples Center for their game against the Los Angeles Kings with 112 points. That's one more than the Colorado Avalanche, who end their season in Anaheim on Sunday evening, and the St. Louis Blues, who host the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday afternoon.
One point for the Ducks will be enough to clinch the top spot, meaning that Anaheim would face the Dallas Stars in the first round. The Ducks own the tiebreaker on the Avalanche and the Blues because they have more wins in regulation and overtime than either.
The Boston Bruins clinched the Presidents' Trophy by defeating the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday. The Philadelphia Flyers secured third place in the Metropolitan Division and a first-round series with the New York Rangers by defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Anaheim Ducks could clinch the top seed in the Western Conference.
Here are the remaining scenarios:
The Bruins defenseman was skating toward the net to receive a pass when he collided with Sabres defenseman Jamie McBain, went airborne, and fell on Hackett's right leg.
The goalie was unable to get up and medical personnel were required to take him off the ice with 11:35 to go.
"I haven't had a chance to watch it back. Honestly I don't even know what happened," Krug said. "I just felt like my feet got kicked out from under me and I landed on his leg. For a second I thought he was OK and then he started screaming. So I feel bad. It's just a tough play."
Hackett, 24, was scheduled to travel back to Buffalo with the team.
"It doesn’t look good right now," Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. "We're going to wrap him up as best as we can and get him back home, get our doctors to look at him, but it doesn't look too good right now."
"[Coach Peter DeBoer] asked me if I wanted to play and, to a certain extent, I’ll never say I don’t want to play if I’m healthy enough and feel good enough," Brodeur told Northjersey.com. "So, I’m happy I’m going to be in the net."
The Dallas Stars hung around the Stanley Cup Playoff race the past couple of seasons, only to fall apart before crossing the finish line. They did the exact opposite this season.
Dallas earned its first trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2008 by going 8-4-0 its past 12 games. The Phoenix Coyotes also did their part to assist the Stars by going winless in their past six games (0-3-3), opening the door for Dallas to get the "X" next to its name in the standings after a 3-0 win against the St. Louis Blues on Friday night.
NHL fans may not have known the name Torey Krug prior to the Stanley Cup Playoffs last spring, but they certainly do now. The Boston Bruins defenseman made his mark after being called up from their American Hockey League team, the Providence Bruins, in the 2013 postseason, when Krug became the first rookie defenseman in the history of the NHL to score four goals in his first five playoff games. Hoping to make another long postseason run, Krug shared what he’s thinking this year, how he endeared himself to his new teammates early on, and what his biggest role is in the locker room.
Kathryn Tappen: First off, happy birthday! April 12 is a good day.
Torey Krug: Thanks, 23. I’m getting old!
KT: What’s this I hear you are in charge of bringing magazines to the rink every month? What are the job requirements for that gig?
TK: [laughs] That’s a rookie duty. You got to make sure the guys are entertained. I bring magazines like Men’s Fitness, the fashion magazines. Guys are into the muscle cars, and any time you bring Golf Digest it will capture the guys’ attention.
DALLAS -- It's been quite a while since Trevor Daley experienced playoff hockey -- six years to be exact. He's the longest-tenured member of the Dallas Stars and the only player on the current roster who was a member of the last Dallas team to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, in 2008. So the sense of relief he expressed following a 3-0 playoff-clinching win against the St. Louis Blues on Friday night was understandable.
"It's a great feeling," Daley said. "We've been battling hard for a long time. It's just kind of like a little bit of a relief and we could go in knowing that the next game that we're in and get ready for the playoffs.
It will give fans one more opportunity to chant Brodeur's name and applaud the effort one final time if it is his curtain call for the only organization he's played for the past 20 seasons.
"Every time I play it could be my last game," Brodeur said following a 3-2 shootout loss to the New York Islanders on Friday. "That's the way I kind of approach it."
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