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Playoff picture: Penguins fourth team to clinch berth

Pittsburgh in postseason, but Metropolitan Division race remains jumbled

NHL.com @NHL

The NHL regular season ends April 9. Here is a look at the Stanley Cup Playoff picture with 19 days remaining.

The Pittsburgh Penguins became the fourth team to clinch a berth in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 3-1 win at the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday. Pittsburgh, the defending Stanley Cup champion, will be making its 11th straight postseason appearance and the 32nd in team history.

The Penguins became the third team from the Metropolitan Division to clinch a berth, joining the Columbus Blue Jackets and Washington Capitals. The Chicago Blackhawks, leaders of the Central Division, have also clinched.

Though the Penguins, Blue Jackets and Capitals are in, nothing has been settled as far as seeding within the division and the races for the No. 1 seed in the East and the Presidents' Trophy.

Video: PIT@BUF: Crosby dances past defense for gorgeous PPG

The Capitals, who defeated the Calgary Flames 4-2 on Tuesday, lead all three races with 102 points, one more than the Penguins and two more than the Blue Jackets, who host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; SN, TVA Sports, FS-O, NHL.TV).

The Blackhawks, who lost 5-4 in overtime at home to the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday, also have 100 points, but have played one more game than the Capitals and the Penguins and two more than the Blue Jackets.

The Maple Leafs enter Wednesday with a three-point lead on the New York Islanders in the race for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference. They trail the Boston Bruins by one point for third place in the Atlantic Division.

The Islanders, who play at the New York Rangers on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV), are four points behind the Bruins with two games in hand. The Rangers own the first wild card in the East and are 13 points ahead of Toronto.

The Bruins lost their third straight game on Tuesday, falling 3-2 at home to the Ottawa Senators, who opened up a six-point lead on Boston for second in the division. Ottawa also has a game in hand.

Video: OTT@BOS: Turris tips home his second goal of the game

Ottawa also moved within three points of the first-place Montreal Canadiens, who lost 2-1 in overtime to the Detroit Red Wings at Bell Centre.

A tie for second place in the Pacific Division will be broken Wednesday when the Edmonton Oilers play at the Anaheim Ducks (10 p.m. ET; PRIME, SNW, NHL.TV). Each team enters the game with 87 points, four behind the first-place San Jose Sharks, who lost 3-2 at the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday, and one point ahead of the Flames.

The Wild, who ended a five-game losing streak, are second in the Central with 94 points, six behind first-place Chicago and 11 clear of the third-place St. Louis Blues.

Here is the playoff bracket as of March 22.

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