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playoffs

Playoff Platter: Blackhawks get in with point

Rangers look to create distance from Penguins in Metropolitan Division

NHL.com @NHL

The Arizona Coyotes will not make the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season, but their 2-0 win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday affected two teams vying for the postseason. 

With the win, Arizona prevented the San Jose Sharks from clinching a playoff berth in the Western Conference. The victory also kept the Flyers tied with the Detroit Red Wings in the race for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference in terms of points. Philadelphia holds the advantage with a game in hand on Detroit.

The regular season ends two weeks from Sunday, and there are 11 spots open.

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

CLINCHING SCENARIO
The Chicago Blackhawks will clinch a playoff berth if they earn at least one point against the Vancouver Canucks.

KEY GAME
Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Rangers (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TVA Sports):
The Penguins come into Madison Square Garden four points behind the Rangers in the Metropolitan Division with a game in hand. Pittsburgh, 8-2-0 in its past 10 games and 6-1-0 since an injury to Evgeni Malkin, has won two of three games against the Rangers. The New York Islanders are one point behind the Penguins for third place in the Metropolitan Division. 

Video: PIT@DET: Letang's power-play goal gives Penguins lead

FLORIDA KEY
The Florida Panthers broke a first-place tie in the Atlantic Division with a 5-2 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. Vincent Trocheck, Jaromir Jagr, Jiri Hudler, Jonathan Huberdeau and Jossi Jokinen scored for Florida, which ended Tampa Bay's three-game winning streak. The Panthers and Lightning each have seven games left, but do not play each other again during the regular season.
 
LOOK OUT FOR 
The St. Louis Blues prevented the Washington Capitals from winning the Presidents' Trophy with their fourth straight shutout win Saturday. Jake Allen made 32 saves for St. Louis, which has not allowed a goal since March 16. It's the 11th time in NHL history a team has won four straight shutouts. The last team to do it was the Phoenix Coyotes, who had five straight shutouts from Dec. 31, 2003-Jan. 9, 2004. The victory kept the Blues in a first-place tie with the Dallas Stars in the Central Division. Dallas defeated San Jose on Saturday. 

NEED HELP
With their 4-0 loss at home to the Minnesota Wild, the Colorado Avalanche fell five points behind Minnesota in the race for the final wild card spot into the playoffs from the Western Conference. The Avalanche have a game in hand, but play their final seven games against the Nashville Predators (twice), Blues (twice), Capitals, Stars and Anaheim Ducks.

Best potential first-round matchup:
Nashville Predators vs. St Louis Blues:
In the past 10 seasons, the Predators have made the playoffs seven times, winning two first-round series (2011, 2012). The Blues have been to the playoffs five times in the same span, winning one first-round series (2012). If Nashville can overtake Chicago for third place in the Central Division and St. Louis finishes second, these two teams could meet in the playoffs for the first time. The Blues, who are 8-2-0 in their past 10, clinched a playoff berth Friday. The Predators, 7-2-1 in their past 10, have a six-point lead over the Wild for the first wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference and an eleven-point lead over Colorado.

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