LAST SPOT IN EAST, PLAYOFF SEEDING TO BE DECIDED ON FINAL WEEKEND
The last available postseason spot in the Eastern Conference and seeding for the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs will be decided during the final weekend of the regular season, which closes with a 14-game slate on Saturday and 10-game schedule on Sunday.
* The Toronto Maple Leafs (39-26-15, 93 points), who hold the second wild card from the Eastern Conference, will try to clinch the final berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs when they face the Pittsburgh Penguins at Air Canada Centre. Chasing Toronto are the Tampa Bay Lightning (41-30-10, 92 points) and New York Islanders (39-29-12, 90 points).
Remaining Games for Teams in Playoff Contention:
Toronto (two games): Saturday vs. PIT, Sunday vs. CBJ
Tampa Bay (one game): Sunday vs. BUF
NY Islanders (two games): Saturday at NJD, Sunday vs. OTT
* Just two of the eight first-round matchups are set entering the closing weekend of the regular season, both in the Eastern Conference (MTL vs. NYR, PIT vs. CBJ).
* In the Western Conference, six playoff positions have yet to be determined, with only the No. 1 and 2 seeds in the Central Division claimed by the Chicago Blackhawks (50-23-8, 108 points) and Minnesota Wild (48-25-8, 104 points), respectively.
* The Anaheim Ducks (45-23-13, 103 points) look to fend off the Edmonton Oilers (45-26-9, 99 points) for the Pacific Division title. Anaheim has one game remaining (Sunday vs. LAK); Edmonton has two (Saturday at VAN, Sunday vs. VAN).
* In the Eastern Conference, three playoff positions have yet to be determined: the Nos. 2 and 3 seeds in the Atlantic Division as well as the second wild card.
SNEAK PEEK AT SATURDAY'S ACTION
All Times Eastern
NY Rangers @ Ottawa, 12:30 p.m., SN, NHLN, RDS, MSG
Columbus @ Philadelphia, 12:30 p.m., CSN-PH, FS-O
Washington @ Boston, 3 p.m., NBC
Chicago @ Los Angeles, 6 p.m., FS-W, CSN-CH
NY Islanders @ New Jersey, 6 p.m., MSG, MSG+
Nashville @ Winnipeg, 7 p.m., CITY, FS-TN
Pittsburgh @ Toronto, 7 p.m., CBC, NHLN, ROOT
Montreal @ Detroit, 7 p.m., SN, TVA Sports, FS-D
Buffalo @ Florida, 7 p.m., FS-F, MSG-B
St. Louis @ Carolina, 7 p.m., FS-CR, FS-MW
Colorado @ Dallas, 8 p.m., FS-SW+, ALT
Minnesota @ Arizona, 9 p.m., FS-A PLUS, FS-N
Edmonton @ Vancouver, 10 p.m., CBC
Calgary @ San Jose, 10 p.m., SN, NHLN, NBCSN, CA+
JOE LOUIS ARENA TO HOST FINAL NHL GAMES
The Detroit Red Wings will hold the final two NHL games at Joe Louis Arena when they host the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday and New Jersey Devils on Sunday. The second-oldest arena in the League (behind New York's Madison Square Garden), Joe Louis Arena has been the home of the Red Wings since 1979. It has witnessed a 25-season playoff streak that came to a close this season, as well as four Stanley Cup-winning campaigns. The Red Wings will move to the newly-built Little Caesars Arena for the 2017-18 season.
KINGS TO HOST BOB MILLER APPRECIATION DAY
The Los Angeles Kings will hold "Bob Miller Appreciation Day" on Saturday. The Hall of Fame broadcaster will call the final two games of his career this weekend when the Kings host the Blackhawks on Saturday and visit the Ducks on Sunday. The voice of the Kings for the past 44 years, Miller's legacy will be honored with a pregame Fan Fest, on-ice logos and special warmup jerseys.
Home Team in Caps
Tampa Bay 4, MONTREAL 2
LIGHTNING KEEP PLAYOFF HOPES ALIVE
Nikita Kucherov (1-1-2) scored his 40th goal of the season to help the Tampa Bay Lightning (41-30-10, 92 points) improve to 7-1-1 in their past nine games. Tampa Bay moved within a point of the Maple Leafs (39-26-15, 93 points) for the final wild card into the playoffs from the East and will conclude its regular-season schedule Sunday against the Sabres at Amalie Arena.
* Kucherov became the fifth Lightning player to record a 40-goal season, joining Brian Bradley, Vincent Lecavalier (2), Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos (4). He has set career-highs in goals, assists (44) and points (84) this season and trails only Sidney Crosby (43) in the race for the Maurice Richard Trophy.
* Yanni Gourde (2-0-2) recorded his first career multiple-goal game. He has scored five goals in his past seven games after finding the net once in his first 14 NHL games.
Video: TBL@MTL: Kucherov nets his 40th goal of the season
Canadiens forward Artturi Lehkonen (1-1-2) has five points in his past three games (3-2-5). … Defenseman Will Butcher of the University of Denver, a fifth-round selection by the Avalanche in the 2013 NHL Draft (No. 123), was named winner of the Hobey Baker Award. … Registration opened for the Stanley Cup Playoffs Bracket Challenge. … Ducks forward Nick Ritchie was suspended for two games for roughing Blackhawks defenseman Michal Rozsival.