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playoffs

Playoff Platter: Capitals can be first to clinch

Washington hosts Hurricanes; Philadelphia can tighten wild-card race

NHL.com @NHL

The end of the NHL regular season is less than four weeks away, and not one team has clinched a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, setting up what should be a wild finish.

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

CLINCHER ALERT

The Washington Capitals, who had a chance to clinch a spot in the playoffs Saturday and Sunday, will try to do it Tuesday against the Carolina Hurricanes (7 p.m. ET; FS-CR, CSN-DC, NHL.TV). The Capitals can clinch a playoff berth:

* If they get at least one point against the Hurricanes; OR

* If the Flyers defeat the Red Wings in regulation; OR

* If the Islanders defeat the Penguins in regulation; OR

* If the Red Wings defeat the Flyers in regulation AND the Islanders defeat the Penguins in any fashion.

KEY GAME

Detroit at Philadelphia (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, FS-D, CSN-PHI): The fact the Flyers are in the playoff picture this late is the season is a testament to the job first-year coach Dave Hakstol has done and the roster general manager Ron Hextall has put together. The Flyers, 7-2-1 in their past 10 games, trail the Red Wings by three points for the second wild card from the Eastern Conference with two games in hand. A win against Detroit, which was shut out by the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday, would put the Flyers in great shape. A loss would drop them five points behind the Red Wings with 14 games to go. 

Video: NYR@DET: Richards ties it with 32 seconds left

IN GOOD SHAPE

The Nashville Predators opened up a nine-point lead over the Minnesota Wild and Colorado Avalanche for the first wild card from the Western Conference with a 3-2 win at the Edmonton Oilers on Monday. Nashville, 7-1-2 in its past 10, trails the Chicago Blackhawks by five points for third place in the Central Division.

LOOK OUT FOR 

Jonathan Quick made 32 saves Monday in the Los Angeles Kings' 5-0 win against the Blackhawks. It was his 41st career shutout, the most by a U.S.-born goalie. The Kings, 7-2-1 in their past 10, maintained a two-point lead over the Anaheim Ducks for first place in the Pacific Division and trail the Dallas Stars by four points (with two games in hand) for the No. 1 seed in Western Conference. The St. Louis Blues, tied with Dallas at 91 points, are second in the conference.

NEED HELP 

The Vancouver Canucks, with a chance to climb to within six points of Colorado and Minnesota for the second wild card from the Western Conference, lost at home 5-2 against the Winnipeg Jets on Monday. The Canucks, who have a game in hand on the Wild and two on the Avalanche, host Colorado on Wednesday.

Video: WPG@VAN: Virtanen hammers home turnover in the 3rd

Best potential first-round matchup: 

It has been 22 years since the New York Rangers and New York Islanders last met in the Stanley Cup Playoffs - the Rangers swept the four-game first-round series on their way to the Stanley Cup in 1994 - and it's about time for another series. The Islanders, who were a Game 7 win away from playing their rivals in the second round last season, have won all three meetings against the Rangers this season, including two at Barclays Center. With their 3-2 win against the Florida Panthers on Monday, the Islanders trail the Rangers by one point for second place - and the chance for home-ice advantage in the first round -- in the Metropolitan Division with two games in hand.

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