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playoffs

Playoff matchups will be decided this weekend

First Round opponents depend on results of several games

by NHL.com @nhl

The Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning clinched second place in their division with wins Thursday, assuring home-ice advantage in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Their opponents in the first round have not been determined. With three days to go and 1,212 of the 1,230 regular-season games (98.5 percent) on the schedule having been played, not one first-round series has been set.

How wild is the playoff picture entering the final weekend? Consider:

-- Of the 14 teams to clinch a berth into the playoffs, six can move in position in the final weekend.

-- First place in the two Western Conference divisions (Central, Pacific) are up for grabs.

-- Three teams are competing for the final two playoff berths in the Eastern Conference.

Seven teams to clinch are locked into positions but do not know who they will play in the first round.

With the only game on the schedule Friday being played by two non-playoff teams (Columbus at Buffalo), the playoff picture will be cleared up Saturday and possibly Sunday.

Here are the scenarios for the final weekend of the NHL season:

Eastern Conference

WILD FINISH

The Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers are competing for the final two berths from the Eastern Conference. The Red Wings and Bruins, who each have one game left, are tied for third place in the Atlantic Division at 93 points; Detroit has one more non-shootout win. The Bruins hold the final wild card in the East, one point ahead of the Flyers, who have two games remaining.

Red Wings Playoff Scenario; Opponent: at NY Rangers

With regulation/OT win, will clinch playoff berth.

With shootout win, will clinch playoff berth if any of the following occurs: (1) Bruins lose to the Senators in any fashion; (2) Bruins defeat Senators in a shootout; (3) Flyers lose to Penguins in any fashion. They cannot be eliminated with shootout win.

With OT/shootout loss, will clinch playoff berth if any of the following occurs: (1) Bruins lose to Senators in any fashion; (2) Flyers lose to Penguins in regulation. They cannot be eliminated with OT/shootout loss.

With regulation loss, will clinch playoff berth if: (1) Bruins lose to Senators in regulation. Will be eliminated if all of the following occur: (1) Bruins get at least one point against Senators; (2) Flyers defeat Penguins in any fashion.

Video: DET@BOS: Pastrnak, Marchand give Bruins early lead

Bruins Playoff Scenario; Opponent: home vs. Ottawa

With regulation/OT win, will clinch playoff berth if any of the following occurs: (1) Red Wings lose to Rangers in any fashion; (2) Red Wings defeat Rangers in a shootout; (3) Flyers lose to Penguins in any fashion. They cannot be eliminated with regulation/OT win

With shootout win, will clinch playoff berth if any of the following occurs: (1) Red Wings lose to Rangers in any fashion; (2) Flyers lose to Penguins in any fashion. They cannot be eliminated with shootout win.

With OT/shootout loss, will clinch playoff berth if any of the following occurs: (1) Red Wings lose to Rangers in regulation; (2) Flyers lose to Penguins in regulation. They cannot be eliminated with OT/shootout loss.

With regulation loss, cannot clinch playoff berth. Will be eliminated if: (1) Flyers defeat Penguins in any fashion.

Flyers Playoff Scenario; Opponent: home vs. Pittsburgh (Saturday)

With regulation/OT/shootout win, will clinch playoff berth if any of the following occurs: (1) Red Wings lose to Rangers in regulation; (2) Bruins lose to Senators in regulation. They cannot be eliminated with regulation/OT/shootout win.

With OT/shootout loss, cannot clinch playoff berth. Will be eliminated if all of the following occur: (1) Red Wings defeat Rangers in any fashion; (2) Bruins defeat Senators in any fashion.

With regulation loss, cannot clinch playoff berth. Will be eliminated if all of the following occur: (1) Red Wings get at least one point against Rangers; (2) Bruins get at least one point against Senators.

CITY HAUL

The New York Islanders and New York Rangers are tied for third place in the Metropolitan Division at 99 points, but the Islanders have a game in hand. The team that finishes third will play the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round; the other will be the first wild card and play the Florida Panthers.  

Video: NYI@NYR: Cizikas rips one past Lundqvist
 
Islanders Playoff Scenario; Opponent: home vs. Buffalo

With regulation/OT/shootout win, will clinch No. 3 seed in Metropolitan Division if: (1) Rangers lose to Red Wings in any fashion.

With OT/shootout loss, will clinch No. 3 seed in Metropolitan Division if: (1) Rangers lose to Red Wings in regulation.

With regulation loss: cannot clinch No. 3 seed in Metropolitan Division. Will be first wild card if: (1) Rangers defeat Red Wings in any fashion.

Rangers Playoff Scenario; Opponent: home vs. Detroit

With regulation/OT/shootout win, will clinch No. 3 seed in Metropolitan Division if: (1) Islanders lose to Sabres in regulation.

With OT/shootout loss, cannot clinch No. 3 seed in Metropolitan Division. Will be first wild card if: (1) Islanders defeat Sabres in any fashion.

With regulation loss, cannot clinch No. 3 seed in Metropolitan Division. Will be first wild card if: (1) Islanders get at least one point against Sabres.

CENTRAL FOCUS

The Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues tied for first in the Central Division and the top seed in the Western Conference at 107 points. The Stars have three more non-shootout wins than the Blues and would win a tiebreaker. The division winner will play the Minnesota Wild in the first round, and the second-place team will have home-ice advantage in their series with the Chicago Blackhawks.
 
Stars Playoff Scenario; Opponent: home vs. Nashville

With regulation/OT/shootout win, will clinch Central Division and No. 1 seed in Western Conference.

With OT/shootout loss, will clinch Central Division and No. 1 seed in Western Conference if: (1) Blues lose to Capitals in any fashion. Will be No. 2 seed in Central Division if: (1) Blues defeat Capitals in any fashion.

With regulation loss, will clinch Central Division and No. 1 seed in Western Conference if: (1) Blues lose to Capitals in regulation. Will be No. 2 seed in Central Division if: (1) Blues get at least one point against Capitals.

Blues Playoff Scenario; Opponent: home vs. Washington

With regulation/OT/shootout win, will clinch Central Division and No. 1 seed in Western Conference if: (1) Stars lose to Predators in any fashion. Will be No. 2 seed in Central Division if: (1) Stars defeat Predators in any fashion.

With OT/shootout loss, will clinch Central Division and No. 1 seed in Western Conference if: (1) Stars lose to Predators in regulation. Will be No. 2 seed in Central Division if: (1) Stars get at least one point against Predators.

With regulation loss, will be No. 2 seed in Central Division.

Video: ANA@LAK: Quick snatches Silfverberg's snap shot

PACIFIC RIM

The Los Angeles Kings have a two-point lead over the Anaheim Ducks for first place in the Pacific Division. The Kings play their season finale Saturday, and the Ducks play Saturday and Sunday. The division winner will play the Nashville Predators in the first round, and the second-place team will play the San Jose Sharks.
 
Kings Playoff Scenario; Opponent: home vs. Winnipeg

With regulation/OT/shootout win, will clinch Pacific Division title.

With OT/shootout loss, will clinch Pacific Division title if: (1) Ducks lose to Avalanche in any fashion.

With regulation loss, will clinch Pacific Division title if: (1) Ducks lose to Avalanche in regulation.

Ducks Playoff Scenario; Opponent: at Colorado (Saturday)

With regulation/OT/shootout win, cannot clinch Pacific Division title. Will clinch No. 2 seed in Pacific Division if: (1) Kings defeat Jets in any fashion.

With OT/shootout loss, will be No. 2 seed in Pacific Division if: (1) Kings get at least one point against Jets.

With regulation loss, will be No. 2 seed in Pacific Division.

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