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Playoff picture: Blue Jackets target top seed in East

Columbus trails Capitals, Penguins by one point; Blues strengthen wild-card lead in West @NHLdotcom

The NHL regular season ends Sunday, April 9. Here is a look at the Stanley Cup Playoff picture with less than a month to go.  

The Tampa Bay Lightning are now among three teams within one point of each other in the race for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.

The Lightning defeated the Ottawa Senators, 2-1, in overtime on Tuesday to move into a points tie (77) with the New York Islanders for the second wild card. The Islanders, who rallied for a 3-2 overtime win at the Carolina Hurricanes, have more wins in regulation than the Lightning (32-30).

The NHL regular season ends Sunday, April 9. Here is a look at the Stanley Cup Playoff picture with less than a month to go.

The race for the Presidents' Trophy and the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference got even tighter on Monday when the Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the Philadelphia Flyers, 5-3, and the Pittsburgh Penguins earned a point in a 4-3 shootout loss against the Calgary Flames.

Through 68 games, the Washington Capitals and Penguins are tied atop the League standings with 95 points. The Blue Jackets have 94, the most in franchise history.

If the playoffs began today, the Capitals, who have lost four straight in regulation, would be the No. 1 seed because they have three more regulation/overtime wins (43) than the Penguins and would face the Toronto Maple Leafs, who hold the second wild card in the East.

Video: CBJ@PHI: Atkinson dekes past Mason for breakaway goal

The Penguins and Capitals do not play each other again during the regular season, but the Blue Jackets play at Washington on March 23, host the Capitals on April 2 and play at the Penguins on April 4.

On Tuesday, the Capitals are scheduled to host the Minnesota Wild (7 p.m. ET; SNP, CSN-DC, FS-N, FS-WI, NHL.TV). With 92 points, the Wild have a one-point lead over the Chicago Blackhawks for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. The Blackhawks play at the Montreal Canadiens (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SNE, RDS, CSN-CH, NHL.TV).

Also on Monday, the St. Louis Blues took a big step in the race for second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference with a 3-1 win at the Los Angeles Kings. The victory moved the Blues five points ahead of the Kings for the final wild card in the West and two points behind the Edmonton Oilers for the first wild card.

The Calgary Flames, who won their 10th consecutive game by defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 in a shootout, moved into second place in the Pacific Division, The Flames and Anaheim Ducks each have 82 points in 69 games, but the Flames have 35 regulation/overtime wins, two more than the Ducks.

Here is a look at the playoff bracket entering play on Tuesday, March 14.

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