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Playoff Platter: Flyers, Wild on the rise

Philadelphia, Minnesota take over wild-card spots

NHL.com @NHL

The end of the NHL regular season is less than three weeks away, and the Washington Capitals, Los Angeles Kings and Dallas Stars are the only teams to clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Capitals, with their win Tuesday night against the Ottawa Senators, won the Metropolitan Division and locked up the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Each day, NHL.com will take a closer look at the playoff races.

KEY GAME

Boston Bruins at New York Rangers (8 p.m., NBCSN, SN1): One of two games Wednesday, the Bruins and Rangers play at Madison Square Garden with plenty on the line. The Rangers, with 90 points, are trying to hold onto second place in the Metropolitan Division. They are two points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who will have two games in hand on New York following the game Wednesday. The Bruins are in third place in the Atlantic Division with 86 points, three behind the second-place Florida Panthers, and three points ahead of the Detroit Red Wings, who enter Wednesday out of the playoff picture. 

IN GOOD SHAPE

Video: DAL@CHI: Eakin sends the puck into the empty net

With their 6-2 win against the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday, the Stars clinched a playoff berth, maintained a two-point lead on the St. Louis Blues for first place in the Central Division and moved six points ahead of the third-place Blackhawks. After losing three of four (1-1-2), the Stars have won three straight by a combined score of 13-5.

NEED HELP

The Blackhawks, following their loss at home to the Stars, are closer to fourth place in the Central Division than they are to first. Chicago, 3-5-2 in its past 10 games, fell six points behind first-place Dallas and is four points behind second-place St. Louis. The Nashville Predators, 6-2-2 in their past 10 games, are four points behind the Blackhawks with one game in hand. The Blackhawks don't play again until Saturday, when they begin a four-game trip at the Calgary Flames. They also play at the Vancouver Canucks, Minnesota Wild and Winnipeg Jets.

THIS IS WILD

Another day, another change in the races for the final wild cards into the playoffs from each conference. The Philadelphia Flyers, with their 3-2 shootout loss at the Columbus Blue Jackets, took over the final wild card in the Eastern Conference. The Flyers and Detroit Red Wings each have 83 points, but the Flyers have one game in hand. They play each other April 6 in Detroit. Tuesday was a missed opportunity for the Flyers to take a one-point lead on the Red Wings, letting a 2-0 lead slip away in the final 1:04 of the third period. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first time in their history the Blue Jackets won a game when trailing by two goals in the final two minutes of regulation. The Wild jumped back ahead of the Colorado Avalanche in the race for the final wild card in the Western Conference with a 2-1 win at home against the Los Angeles Kings. The Wild, who have won three in a row, have a one-point lead on the Avalanche, but the Avalanche have one game in hand.

Video: PHI@CBJ: Bobrovsky denies Couturier to win it

Best potential first-round matchup:

Philadelphia Flyers vs. Washington Capitals: The Flyers are 6-2-2 in their past 10 games. They are 1-2-0 against the Capitals this season, but their win came Jan. 27 at Verizon Center, where the Capitals have lost eight times all season (28-6-2). The Flyers, with 10 games remaining, are in a battle for the final wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference, while the Capitals have clinched the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Flyers and Capitals have split their four all-time playoff series. They last met in the first round in 2008, a series won by the Flyers in seven games.

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