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Playoff Platter: Red Wings in position to clinch

Detroit can extend streak to 25 seasons with victory at Bruins

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

The Detroit Red Wings have been in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for 24 straight seasons. They can make it 25 on Thursday.

Detroit, which defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 3-0 on Wednesday, can lock up a berth and at least third place in the Atlantic Division with a win at the Boston Bruins (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports, FS-D, NESNplus). The Red Wings, with 93 points, lead the Bruins by two. Each team will have one game remaining.

Philadelphia remains even in points with Boston; each has 91. The Flyers, who hold the second wild card from the Eastern Conference, have a game in hand on the Bruins, but Boston holds the non-shootout wins tiebreaker.

The Dallas Stars can clinch the Central Division and the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference with a win against the Colorado Avalanche and a loss by the St. Louis Blues against the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins can clinch second place in their respective divisions and earn home-ice advantage for the Eastern Conference First Round. The Lightning need to defeat the New Jersey Devils to clinch second in the Atlantic Division, and can clinch if they earn a point and the Red Wings lose to the Bruins in any fashion, or if the Red Wings lose to the Bruins in regulation.

The Penguins will clinch second place in the Metropolitan Division if they defeat the Washington Capitals, or if they earn a point and the New York Rangers lose to the New York Islanders in any fashion or defeat the Islanders in a shootout.

KEY GAME

Anaheim Ducks at Los Angeles Kings (10:30 p.m. ET, PRIME, FS-W, NHL.TV): Nine of the 13 games Thursday will have an impact on playoff positioning, but first place in the Pacific Division is on the line here. The Ducks and Kings are even with 99 points, but the Ducks have a game in hand. Since clinching a playoff berth on March 19, the Kings are 3-6-0. The Ducks are 6-2-2 in their past 10 games. Neither team can clinch the division title in this game, but the Kings have one game remaining after Thursday, and the Ducks have two. Whoever wins the division plays the Nashville Predators in the Western Conference First Round and the second-place team will face the San Jose Sharks.

Video: WPG@ANA: Perry opens the scoring on power play in 1st

PICK YOUR POISON

The Islanders visit the Rangers on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; MSG, MSG+2, NHL.TV) with a chance to pull even for third place in the Metropolitan Division. The Islanders have won all three games this season against the Rangers, who will be without top-pair defenseman and captain Ryan McDonagh. The Rangers hold the non-shootout wins tiebreaker. If the Islanders can pass the Rangers and finish third, their reward would be a first-round series with the Penguins, who have won seven in a row. If the Islanders fail to pass the Rangers and are the first wild card from the Eastern Conference, they will play the Florida Panthers. The Rangers can catch the Penguins for second place but would need to win their final two games and have Pittsburgh, which plays at Washington on Thursday, pick up one point or less in their final two games.

SEE YOU NEXT WEEK

The Blackhawks host the Blues on Thursday (8:30 p.m. ET; FS-WM, CSN-CH, NHL.TV) in what could be a first-round preview. The Blues and Stars are even with 105 points atop the Central Division and are vying for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. The Stars have three more non-shootout wins than the Blues (46-43), but the Blackhawks, with 101 points, have 46 as well. The team that wins the Central Division will play the Minnesota Wild in the first round; the other two teams will play each other.

Best potential first-round matchup:

Red Wings vs. Lightning: Goalie Jimmy Howard is back, which is good news for the Red Wings but not so much for the Lightning. Tampa Bay has lost two straight and will enter the playoffs without injured forward Steven Stamkos and defenseman Anton Stralman. The Lightning recalled forward Johathan Drouin from Syracuse of the American Hockey League on Thursday. Howard made 30 saves in a 3-0 win against the Flyers on Thursday for his third straight win. Last season, the Red Wings took the eventual Eastern Conference champions to seven games in the first round before being eliminated. This season, they could be hitting their stride just in time for the rematch.

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