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Playoff Platter: Sharks, Predators can clinch

Seven of eight West spots could be decided; Capitals aim for Presidents' Trophy

NHL.com @NHL

The Chicago Blackhawks became the sixth team to clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with their 3-2 win against the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday. The Blackhawks became the fifth team from the Western Conference to clinch, joining the Los Angeles Kings, Dallas Stars, Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues. The Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks can clinch spots Monday. If they do, there would be one spot left in the Western Conference. The Minnesota Wild lead the Colorado Avalanche by five points for the final wild card into the playoffs from the West. The Washington Capitals, who have a chance to win the Presidents' Trophy on Monday, are the only team from the Eastern Conference to have clinched a spot. 

CLINCHING SCENARIOS

* The Capitals will clinch the Presidents' Trophy and No. 1 seed in the playoffs if they get at least one point against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
 
* The Sharks will clinch a playoff berth if they defeat the Kings in any fashion OR if they get one point against the Kings AND the Arizona Coyotes lose to the Calgary Flames in any fashion OR if the Coyotes lose to the Flames in regulation.
 
* The Predators will clinch a playoff berth if they defeat the Avalanche in regulation.

KEY GAME

Buffalo Sabres at Detroit Red Wings (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, FS-D, SNE, SNO, SNP): The Red Wings have been a playoff team for 24 years in a row. In that span, they have won the Stanley Cup four times, made six trips to the Final and won 34 series. That streak is in jeopardy this season as Detroit heads into Monday out of playoff position. The Red Wings and Philadelphia Flyers each have 85 points, but Detroit has played one more game than Philadelphia, which holds the final wild card into the playoffs from the East. The Flyers host the Winnipeg Jets on Monday.

Video: PIT@DET: Green nets power-play goal on floating shot

IN GOOD SHAPE

The Pittsburgh Penguins improved to 8-2-0 in their past 10 games with a 3-2 overtime win Sunday at the New York Rangers. The victory moved Pittsburgh three points ahead of the New York Islanders for third place in the Metropolitan Division (Pittsburgh has played one more game). Pittsburgh also moved to within three points of the Rangers for second place in the division, with a game in hand. 

NEED HELP

The Avalanche, who trail the Wild by five points for the final wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference, announced Sunday forwards Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon will each miss two more games because of knee injuries. The Avalanche, who have seven games remaining, play at Nashville on Monday.  

Best potential first-round matchup: 

Rangers vs. Penguins: If the game between these two rivals Sunday at Madison Square Garden was any indication, this possible first-round matchup could be a classic. Pittsburgh has won three of four from the Rangers this season, but New York, which is 25-8-4 at home this season, could have home-ice advantage. The storylines in this series would be rich, with the Rangers having eliminated the Penguins from the playoffs the past two seasons, and former Rangers forward Carl Hagelin, who scored the series-winning goal against the Penguins last season, and former Rangers assistant coach Mike Sullivan now with Pittsburgh.

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